Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Final Checkup with the Cardiologist - Heart Palpitations

Spoiler alert: I’m not dying...yet.

A week or so ago I had my final (or what I thought was my final) appointment with the cardiologist.  As you might recall, I had a series of heart palpitations over the last few months during which my heart rate would spike to 230. Read about them here or here or here. If you look up “fun” in the dictionary, it says: Antonym: heart palpitations. 

I had chest pain, shortness of breath, I saw Jimmy Hendrix ride by on a bike made out of sausages, I basically had the works.  So, I did what good runner would do......and ignored them for the first 6 months. But, eventually I decided that I SHOULD indeed do something about them and went in.

I was poked and prodded, and no one bought me dinner first! had an ultrasound, and wore a portable EKG for a month. It was lovely. And on Thursday last week I went in to get the results.

I'm alive!!!!  (My actual heart)

The doc said that the echocardiogram/ultrasound looked basically fine.  I had slightly thickened walls of the heart and there was some valve leakage, but both are likely attributed to being healthier than god damn Secretariat a healthy runner.  My heart was thick because I work it hard running not eating gravy and it is so strong that the valves can’t hold in all of the blood.  Finally he also said that I was in the top 5% of heart strength as measured by penis size some random measurement.  By this point, doc Cardiologist was top notch in my book!  But then he said something to the effect of:

Well, if you would like, we could do a procedure to catheterize and burn off the nerve that was causing the issue.  Don’t worry, it’s a totally normal procedure during which I stick a tube and wire in your crotch all the way to your heart.”  I’m sure I was as white as a ghost.  He just sat there waiting for me to say “sure doc, let’s do it!” and wheel me away on a gurney.

The doctor went on to explain that I could likely solve the issue with the procedure, but doing nothing likely has minimal risk.  As long as I wasn’t fainting with the palpitations, the heart would sustain limited if any “damage” when it was fluttering.  In fact, he said the major risk was not that my heart would explode but instead I’d faint while driving a car and drive off of a bridge.  “It’s not the heat that will kill you, it’s the humidity!”

So, I kindly told the doctor “no thank you” on sticking a soldering gun into my heart (my words) and said I would take my chances with the bridge.  He was completely fine with that decision and we made an appointment for a 6 month checkup.

Oh, and he might have also mentioned that I should take it easy for a while with my running.  Advice that I slept on, and then proceeded to run a 10 mile tempo run with 5 at 6:30 pace during which I nearly barfed. Thanks for the thumbs up, doc!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012 Pearl Izumi Peak II Review / Giveaway

A few weeks back, I received an email from the folks over at  I've said it before and I'll say it again. Drinking an entire bottle of wine makes your voice very quiet, you have to make sure to YELL your hilarious jokes while drinking. When a representative from a great online shoe store reaches out to you, you answer that email faster than a pack of dogs on a 3 legged cat.

Turns out, they had a pair of Pearl Izumi Peak II Trail shoes laying around that were begging to be giving the sniff test by The Boring Runner. AND, they had another pair that they wanted to give away to my readers!!! Since I am thinking about dabbling into trail running and LOVE the "Electric Blue" color (and well, and let's be honest....FREE SHOES??) I decided that I'd give them a whorl.

Pearl Izumi is a shoe and clothing manufacturer that has tailored itself to be a bit of an elite brand.  While not necessarily in a bad way like those people who drink their beer with their pinkie up, instead they make no apologies for wanting people to be their best. Their shoes generally cost slightly more than a "normal" brand (although, most are actually on sale right now on that puts them right on par with everyone else), they focus more on the triathlete than many other brands, and often times utilize some of the most cutting edge fabrics.  As such, the shoes I tried had a fully seamless upper (usually meaning that they can be worn sockless) and a smaller rock plate that still provides some very good protection.

As is usually the case when I test shoes (Especially these Pearl Izumi Shoes), I like to put them through ALL tests that other people never try.  Anyone can RUN in shoes, but really it is the extras that push a shoe from "protects my feet from yucky mud" to "omg, I want to sleep with these on my hands!"

Test #1: Bring out my baby blues

Well, I mean, obviously we can all see THIS one passed 

 Test #2: Successfully navigate the treacherous carpet in my house

Passed!  Thank goodness they had a rock plate, stupid Legos....
In fact, I MIGHT start sleeping with these on for those late night stumbles to the bathroom

Test #3: Test the shoes on some technical, rocky terrain

Passed!  Well, this MIGHT have been my front "lawn", but who is counting, right?

Ok, seriously....I've ran in the Peak II a handful of times and I have to say I really like the more minimal style while still offering great protection against rocks and twists and turns.  Granted, I didn't do any super technical trails on them but I'd like to think that I still ran them through their paces.  I did 30ish miles on the Phoenix canal system as seen here:
Technical trails, they ain't, but they are a good enough proxy for non technical flat trail running to break in my lightweight trail shoes.

I could tell that they were lightweight and neutral but still a bit stiffer than a normal neutral road shoe. The one interesting thing is that they run small - a half to nearly a full size small.  I normally wear a 9.5 and I wouldn't want these size 10s to go any smaller - especially if I were shooting down the side of a mountain at 10mph.  Another thing that I noticed was that the shoes are a touch wider that I'm used to.  So, they look a bit strange when I put them on after having road shoes on, but the added few mm of width I'm sure pays dividends when hopping over roots.

Overall, I like these shoes a LOT compared to my other more bulky, heavy, clunky trail shoes.  They seem to be light and nimble (like me!) but still able to handle their own in the mud and the crud (unlike me).  So, I'd recommend them for anyone looking to take a stab at going off road!


Ok, this is when you say: sure sure sure, whatever whatever, gimme some free shoes!

Like most contests, there will be a million ways to enter. You can pick from any of the mens Men's Pearl Izumi Peak II or the women's Pearl Izumi Peak II.  Unfortunately, you DO have to be in the USA.  The contest starts now and goes until 6/2.  PLEASE leave a comment for each time you enter.  I promise that I’m not going to the work to separate them all out so it’ll only count for one if you do 10 things and leave it in one comment. Normally I'm fair, but this time I'm horribly lazy

  • Follow my blog and leave a comment letting me know you do
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Send out a Tweet mentioning me and the contest: Something similar to:  "I'm ready to get dirty with @TheBoringRUnner and a pair of free @pearlizumi shoes hosted by @OnlineShoes_com"
  • Repost on your blog or Facebook, whatever.

FCC Stuff: I got a pair of shoes for free.  If you’d stop reading this disclaimer and enter you could too! I wasn’t asked for a positive review.  Seriously, are you still reading? You should be entering by leaving a comment

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Funny Foto Friday: Poop Salary

Yeah, I know I'm a day late.... :-( This one was worth waiting for...

Every so often, my internet surfing pays off in a find that presents itself as something that can NOT be passed up.  Something so good that you smack your hand against your face and scream "why didn't I think of that!?"

Poop Salary.

Poop salary Andriod app uses your current income to calculate how much money you've made while...."thinking" in your "office". That's right, it calculates how much money you've been paid to poop while at work.

I seriously can't make this up nor can I make any jokes that will even compare to the real thing. Enjoy. Happy Friday!! Saturday!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hot race continued, long lunches, and 100 mile weeks

Over my 5 years of blogging, I’ve found that I am increasingly able to turn a seemingly innocent random thought into a fully formed blog post.  What can I say? I have the gift of long winded boring posts about nothing gab!!  Sometimes though, life gets in the way and instead of being able to sit down and write an entire post I only get 20 min here or there to create.....this:

Green Bay Marathon Cancelation Response
There was a lot of great back and forth on my post around the cancelation of the Green Bay Marathon.  The response was essentially what I expected from the Type A “get outta my way or else I’ll run you over” runner. In short: let me make a decision for myself, give me enough water, and let me run.  That said, some were sympathetic to the Race Director’s position which honestly I am too.

I received a great email from Jennifer at who was not only there but also ran the half marathon. (Or, attempted to run since it was canceled?) She said that she agreed with the decision to cancel on the following grounds:

  • Locals from WI are simply not used to that kind of heat. It was 25+ degrees hotter than normal
  • The people she saw in the med tents were all types – not just the bucket list weekend warriors
  • Frankly, it was scary with the non stopped ambulances and people with ice bags all over their body trying to bring their core temperature down

But, at the end of the day running is an outside sport. Plan plan plan!

**insert wiener joke here**
Anything worth doing is worth doing for 3 hours.  Ohhhh yeahhhhh
Most days, I bring my lunch to work. It’s cheap, it’s easy, (like me!) and it is a good way to eat basically healthy. Although, since I normally eat a TV dinner and about 8 other things random things, I’m probably getting in enough salt to turn a bathtub into a salt water scrub. Anyway, I’ve found myself starting my lunch around 11:30 because I’m starving and then slowly eating it throughout the day through about 2pm. I’ll get busy surfing twitter working for 20 minutes, go back to eating, etc. I’ve read articles about how you should eat 5 meals a day, but none about eating all day long so I wonder if that is healthy. Oh well, can’t be any less healthy than the go-gurt that I’m loving.

65 miles makes me....tired
This week I’m on track for a 65ish mile week.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to keep on building until I hit 100.  Why not? I have no major races planned for the next few months and now is as good of a time as ever.  The issue I’ve always had with a rather rapid buildup is that my body takes a month or so to adjust to the increased beating (TWSS).  I’m still adjusting.  Until I do, I’ll be the one shuffling his feet with half open eyes while spilling go-gurt all over his shirt.

Four... Forty? Not Fourty??
Sock...Soccer? Not Socker?
Love, glove, above.... of? Not Ove?
(And those examples are just from today alone)

I’ve had this song in my head all day long. You’re welcome.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Heat: A reason to end the race?

Today I ran 8 miles with an overall pace of 7:11. While out on my run I swear I saw some dude with horns running after a guy with a pitchfork.  Seriously, it’s HOT out there!  I forgot to look, but I’m pretty sure the low temperature today was 75 and I know the high is supposed to be somewhere between 108 and 111.  In fact, I heard a guy on the news say that the cool down that we’re supposed to get at the end of the week might be one of the last times that we have highs in the 90s for a while.  Lovely.

But, running in the heat is just the price I pay for living with as much sand in my teeth as I can handle, lips that are constantly chapped, and wait...WHY do I put up with the heat??

Honestly, as long as you plan and prepare, running in the heat is something that can be managed. Extra water, extra time (slower running), and some other small changes (light clothing, a hat, a shady route) will have you getting in your workouts regardless of what Lucifer offers to give you for your soul.  (I asked for a BQ marathon.  Weeeellllllll, about that.....  WORTH IT)

Unfortunately though, some people often times throw caution (and frequently their health) to the wind and push beyond their limits.  All for a few less clicks on this:

This weekend the Green Bay Marathon was canceled after only 2 hours and 35 minutes had passed on the clock.   As a result, the race has a whopping 10 finishers. That means that you could have been a female and qualified for the Olympic trials (sub 2:39) but not had an official time. That also means that exactly 10 people can use the Green Bay marathon this year as a Boston Qualifier.  Loads more details here: 

Keep my A goal in spite of record temps?
Yeah, I got this....
I have plenty of mixed emotions here.  On the one hand, the Race Director’s primary job is the safety of the runners. If he felt that it was too hot then he and he alone should be the one to pull the plug. It was 70 degrees at the start and crept to the upper 80s near the time that the race was called.  At the time of the race, there were reports of the medical personnel being overwhelmed by the number of runners needing assistance and hospitals turning away patients.  BOTH were found to be untrue on Monday with both groups saying “uhhh, whatha talking ‘bout? We had it under control??

On the flip side, at what point do we (as runners) hold ourselves accountable to throttle back on the speed and drink more when we start to see spots or things like Marky Mark trying to sell us a ticket to the Chocolate Factory?

Personally, I get very frustrated when things like this happen. Part of it is frustration at the proliferation of litigation, but a lot of it is that a few people ruin the bunch.  In fact, marathoning is almost the only sport that regularly freaks out about high temperatures.  Most people who have finished an Ironman would consider you a wuss if your race didn’t have 80 degree temps - same for most ultramarathons in the Midwest.

But, no one died during the race and who knows what would have happened if it would have gone on for the full 6.5 hours?

So, what do you think? Should the marathon have been canceled? Should the race director had more medical staff on board?  Had a machine to control the weather?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Commute: Sucking my will to live

After being on twitter for a few years, I've found that a few things are true:

  • Everyone will always receive offers of free iPads
  • Guys will always receive fake messages from fake people with cleavage profile pictures
  • Living on the west coast will always suck because by the time I want to get on, people are going to bed
  • People will bitch about traffic

Well, I don't have any spare iPads or clevage, but I did complain about traffic on Wednesday. You see, because of an accident, my normal commute was 2.5 HOURS. Yes, I wasted 150 min of my life in the car. Time that could be much better spent on twitter complaining about said traffic.

It was only a twist of fate that I was contacted by someone from with a fun graphic that basically told me that I'm killing myself. Super. Since I'm a big facts dork and follow no fewer than 5 "facts" posters, I thought that I would share this one.  Enjoy!

Killer Commute
Created by:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Funny Foto Friday: Video Edition!

Cool picture - boobs incidental
Today had me running 8 miles with the goal of running 6 of them at tempo pace (of 6:30).  It was TOUGH.  The days are starting to heat up, where lows around 75 being the norm.  But, that is no excuse - I was struggling plain and simple. My body WAS crying.

I warmed up 2, slogged through 4.5 miles of tempo, bonked HARD and was able to hold it through 5 - no more.  There may or may not have been 2 periods of rest while waiting for heavenly red lights.  So, not a 100% success, but not a complete failure after the 55+ mile week I'm having.

This week's funny foto friday is going to be a bit different than in week's past.  I've ran across a few random viral videos that, while they don't make me laugh out loud, for some reason make me smile.  Now I know that a lot of people read at work so why aren't you working? can't have sound and a lot of people read on their phones that can't display video who also need an upgrade soooooo, this might not be the best post for everyone.  That said, Happy Friday!

The first is an acoustic version of LMFAO's Sexy and I know it.  I heard about it on the Today Show (a theme with this post).  The kid got like a million views within the first day. Very talented w/ a Tom Waits style voice. (gravely)

The next two are just 100% random (like this blog).  The Harvard Men's baseball team did a cover of the Call Me, Maybe song and the SMU Rowing team did a "Response".  Sorry fellas, ladies w/ long legs win. Every.time.

Finally, a little something fitness related.  Yes, guys do this.  ALL THE TIME.  Happy Friday!

Ok, FINE.  For those of you that can't watch hilarious videos, here are a few funny pictures.  Happy Friday!

Most likely to be hilarious?  FOUND HIM!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sport Hook Giveaway, Fall Races, and Updated Paces!

I’ve had a pretty busy week at work so I haven’t had a chance to write a full post on a number of smaller items (read: haven’t filled out a thought fragment with blurbs of “that’s what she said” and poop jokes).  So, in true Adult Runner Attention Deficit Disorder (AR-ADD) form, here are a few....I love coffee. I love how it warms my insides........ Wait, what were we talking about?

Sport Hooks Giveaway/Contest:
Recently, I’ve been talking with a friend who is helping out with Sport Hooks. You know, the company that makes the wall hangers to hang your race bling on?  Long story short, right now there is a Facebook contest going where the winner gets a FREE sport hook.  All you have to do is submit a picture here (just post it to the wall) of how you store/display your race medals and get people to “like” it. (You have to like Sport Hooks first to vote)  The person with the most likes will win a free Sport Hook.  SIMPLE!  Entries are due by the 22nd and the winner will be annced on the 28th.  Next week I’ll pick out my favs and do a post on them – if you have a blog let me know and I'll link you up, pull some embarrassing pictures of you, and make jokes so we can all laugh WITH you.

If I were going to submit one, here is what I would submit.  I usually hang them on Michael Phelps body with my head attached.
How else would you display your race medals?

Actually, I hang a lot of them on my own Sport Hook!! (All of my Rock and Roll medals below)

Fall Races:
Remember when I posted about 2012 being the year of the marathon lottery and then subsequently gave the middle finger to the NYC Marathon?  Well, the St George marathon didn’t let me down. I’m in!!  So, I now have a primary race for which to base my fall race schedule around.  I’m a planner by nature so I love when I know when everything is supposed to happen.  To say that it was bothering me that I didn’t know if I was going to run the race would be like saying that the reality show Toddlers and Tiaras is “sort of creepy”. HUGE understatement.  So now, I’m formulating my race schedule!  Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Other than St. George, I’m actually hoping on running a handful of Rock and Roll half marathons.  I need to see which dates fit into my schedule, but I’d love to see how I do in Denver and might consider a California or east coast race as well!  Who is doing some of the rock and roll races?? I’d love to meet up if you are!!

Where there are PRs, there are pace increases:
I always hesitate to list out paces in great detail on this blog because I recognize that it is slightly boastful, it is hard to make poop jokes about numbers, and frankly numbers are about as fun to read about as...a book about numbers (See?? Numbers and jokes don’t mix).  Of course, I keep VERY close track of them and log my miles in no fewer than 4 places. So, while I don't mention them, I'm paying very close attention.

So, as SHOULD be the case with any major PR race, after my marathon PR, my training paces got faster. Essentially, I sped up everything by 15 seconds per mile. Why 15 seconds? Because 30 would make me shat myself?  15 seconds isn’t a ton of time, but JUST enough to get me to the next level.  So, right now I’m targeting the following:

  • Long run: 7:25-30
  • Marathon: 6:52 (3:00 marathon pace)
  • Tempo / Half Marathon: 6:30 (Current PR is 6:49 pace, I think I should probably move this down to 6:20 but it scares me)
  • 400s/800s: 5:30 (which is what I am targeting as my 5K pace)

Basically just fast enough to taste barf in my mouth, but not fast enough to poop my pants. Yet.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

100 mile ultramarathons and 1 mile fun runs

As I was huffing and puffing on Monday through my first interval session in nearly a month (6 x 800 @ 5:29 pace) I got to thinking about a few things:

  • Speed work is rarely fun, but doing speed work after a month off is like trying to catch a greased pig
  • If I ever were to go the other way, Matt Damon. Hands down. Even when he gains like 50 pounds for that zoo movie. RAWR indeed.
  • I’m running these 800s 10 seconds off of my mile PR.  I need to run another mile all out as soon as possible
  • There is no way that I could focus specifically on ½ mile 800 or any short distance running. Just like Ron Jeremy, I’m not built for speed, I’m built for distance

This is what qualifies as a "trail" in Zion
This weekend, the contrast between speed and distance was most apparent.  During the same day, I was following online and virtually cheering for a blogger buddy attempting her first 100 miler and I participated in a 1 mile fun run/walk hosted by another buddy.

100 miles
Running 100 miles is interesting. It is just far enough that it is nearly incomprehensible for my little marathon mind.  Frankly, all that I know is that time doesn’t matter, you get to eat junk food while you do it, and basically your feet shrivel up and fall off during.  Where do I sign up!?

That said, I was cheering on Suann @ Suann on the Run while she ran the Zion 100 in UT.  The scenery was gorgeous, but unfortunately in this case “gorgeous” meant “impossibly tall mountains that oh by the way you have to climb up and how about let’s make it also 95 degrees with no shade”.  Again, where do I sign up??  Unfortunately, Suann had issues with her knee and feet and “only” completed 100k. As in, 62 miles!!  Freaking amazing.

I honestly do have the bad idea bear sitting on my shoulder telling me “seriously Adam, Matt Damon looks like he likes to cuddle”It really would be fun to do an ultra-marathon.  You’ve never let conventional wisdom or gut feels stop you from anything before!? Doooo it!!!”  Honestly, I will do one – sooner rather than later. I’m frankly trained to do a 50K right now – and possibly limp through a 50 mile.  Check back here soon for me complaining about how dirty I get and how many snakes I saw.

1 mile
The same day, blogger buddy, real life buddy, and runner that I coach hosted a fun run with some of his coworkers.  Never one to pass up an opportunity for free Capri Sun pouches in goodie bags, I was all in.  It was one of those events that was just a few friends getting together for a quick run around the neighborhood.  I like those kind of events.

I had ran 14 hot sweaty miles before, so it was a nice way to stretch my legs and chat about summer race plans.  If anything, it got me thinking about my own fun run - the Sweat Your Thorns off 5K! Stay tuned for details on that!

Jeff and his posse of female runners

Ok, seriously I don't have a big head
I REALLY want to think that these were little kids medals

Friday, May 11, 2012

Funny Foto Friday: Mother's Day

With mother’s day around the corner, dads everywhere are scrambling to figure out exactly what the kids will ‘get’ mom for the big day.  I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve (pine tree scented candle anyone?? Dipping my kid's hands in paint and putting them on.....ANYTHING??).  Fortunately for both myself and my son, my wife just wants a day to herself.  That, I can accommodate for sure.

So, in the spirit of mother’s day, here are a few funny pictures to help get dad’s creative juices flowing. Happy Friday!

The look of pride on this guy's face is AWESOME

Can't DAD drink too?? (Actually, I do indeed prefer gifts in liquid form)

So, while mom is out on her "day of mom" my son and I will be hanging around doing things that guys do.....

Living dangerously with my son while mom is out doing stuff
No clue what we were watching, I'm sure Mickey Mouse....

Finally, I'm not sure if this video will work, but here is a quick one that I took of my son "playing" on a lawn mower at my dad's house while we were back in Iowa. That is my voice that you hear and my dad making lawn mower sounds.

Obviously it wasn't ON, so no need for child protective services yet.  Well, maybe after you watch the video (with sound) you'll disagree.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Going Commando: Underwear while you run?

Every so often, I find that I’m just a little bit different than everyone else.  (Who am I kidding?  Happens all the time.)  The most recent example was when I started talking about the latest Bethany Getting Married episode complained on twitter about how I didn’t have any clean running underwear.  What came next can only be described as a tidal wave of exclamation at my own bizarre behavior: “WHAT? YOU WEAR UNDERWEAR EVEN IN SHORTS THAT HAVE THE BUILT IN UNDERWEAR!?!?”  Why yes, yes I do.  Or, at least, I did.

I’ve said in the past that I’m a very simple guy. I don’t need a lot of “stuff”.  For that matter, once I find something that works well, I stick with it until forced to make a change (you know, like all guys).  As such, I started running in old shorts that I had laying around and never really stopped. Of course, regular gym shorts don’t have any support for my money maker (money makers?), so I bought a few pairs of boxer briefs and got to running.  I did this for years.  Hell, I do this right now with some of the same shorts from 5 years ago!

But the people on twitter had spoken and a few months back I decided that I was going to throw the boys caution to the wind and trust that the major clothing manufacturers had men on their design staff.  I ran without any underwear on.  To be clear, I was VERY apprehensive. I put on enough Body Glide to lube up a baby in a sandpaper factory and I might have considered going to a sperm bank should any irreparable damage have been done.  But, after that first run you know what? It wasn’t too bad!  It turns out that the extra  underwear layer was actually trapping in quite a bit of heat and moisture.  As such, running commando made me feel cool, light, and fancy free. Everything had enough support and nothing rubbed together that shouldn’t. It was like I was doing something naughty – and everyone was in for a show.  Wiggle wiggle wiggle!!

A buddy Chad made fun of me by saying that running with underwear on is like running w/ jean shorts.  Sure you can do it, but it sure doesn’t make you look smart. He’s sometimes like a Buddha. (Complete with shaved head.)  I suppose that I’m probably due for a bit of an evaluation on my running gear. But, then again, seems to be working so far.  Maybe I’ll have to try running in jean shorts to mix things up?

Do you do anything that you know is different that the runner norm?  I also wear cotton socks most of the time (But love my Zensah minimalist running socks) and I don’t put on deodorant before I run.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Epilogue on The Eugene Marathon

In my rush to get SOME sort of race report out for the Eugene marathon, I glossed over my overall impressions of the race as well as my closing thoughts.....

As I was running, I honestly wouldn’t let myself even THINK about a finish faster than a 3:10 until mile 22 or 23.  Yes, I knew that I was on 3:04 pace and was pushing to hold that, but history told me that I was only a “opps, that wasn’t a fart” away from losing 10 minutes in the bushes.  I’m pretty self deprecating as a whole, and the middle of the marathon is no different.  I certainly didn’t want to count my chickens before they hatched, blow up, and forever think of what could have been. I’d be like one of those 45 year old high school football players that constantly mutters about the “big game” that only needed one more touchdown for immortal glory.

This was the first time ever that I ran a marathon with a handheld waterbottle.  I have never mastered drinking out of a cup while running (have you SEEN my nose? My nostrils might as well be a funnel for water to slosh into) so I always carry my own water that I can squirt into my mouth (TWSS).  All in all, The Runner by Clean Bottle worked GREAT.  It has a pouch for my phone and thus I have become quite addicted to the A Capella Pandora radio station. So the first 16 miles or so I was do-bopping out to songs from Glee and The Voice.  The one issue that I spoke to in my race report was that I was an idiot and tried to refill the water bottle WHILE running at 6:50 pace.  Not only did I splash water on my phone, but when I took the lid off of the 1/4 full bottle, THAT water sloshed out too!  I spent miles 15-17 waterless.  Needless to say, I trotted through the mile 17 aid station (no, I will not tell you what pace a “trot” is) to make sure the water got into the bottle and not on my phone.

The full marathon was probably 12 or so miles on a wide bike path near a river that went through town.  GREAT for running, not so much for spectating.  So, if you are the type of runner that hates to run without seeing hilarious signs like “Worst Parade Ever” for all 26 miles then this race might not be for you.  On the flip side, the trees along the path shaded you from any wind, sun, or (at times) Garmin signal all of which would be great if you were running for 5 or 6 hours.  Honestly, it was nice to get off of the roads – even if it did make it hard to pass the huge group of people running with a pacer.

In closing, the entire race experience still seems a little surreal. In my head, I’m still the guy with the grass stained lawn shoes running around a 3 mile neighborhood loop getting excited when I run it in fewer than 30 minutes. (And then icing down my screaming shins – stupid lawn shoes)  When the Boston Marathon changed their criteria forcing me to run a 3:05, I thought it a nearly insurmountable goal.  At the time that was FASTER than my half marathon pace – how could I do that twice!? But, every journey begins with a single step and everything worth doing takes sacrifice.

So with one life goal checked off of the list, what now?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  I’ve got my eye on an ultra marathon or two, maybe a marathon time that starts with a 2....but until I figure it out I’m going to continue taking single steps towards whatever my goal is at the time. Enjoying the journey? Yes. Celebrating the achievements? Absolutely. All the while never taking myself serious? That’s what she said.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Eugene Marathon Race Report!

Why yes, I guess I did quality for THE Boston Marathon

Time: 3:04:00
Pace: 7:01
Place: 139 out of 2352 overall, 42 out of 190 M30-34
Heart Rate: 188 Average

I will admit that normally I try to make my race reports as short, punchy and full of fiber full of pictures as possible.  However, the Eugene marathon is going to be a bit different. While I am a lot delayed on getting this published (sorry about that - family emergency in an area with sparse internet) I'm still going to try to use it as a bit of a mental reminder of one of the best days of my life (easily top 10, possibly top 5).  So, it's going to be long.

Of course, the irony of this post is that it is probably the longest that I've went before writing a race report.  But, just like a fine wine or brewing beer, hopefully time only made it less likely to remember your name and more likely to hit on the dude at the end of the bar.


Before my wife, son and I got to Eugene (Track Town USA), I asked around to find out exactly what there was do to in the city.  The answers that I received?  They were all NOT in Eugene.  Everything was "well, if you have a car, you could drive 60 miles to something fun". Or, "Well, Eugene is a college town, so there are lots of bars!".  Or, "there are a bunch of good hiking trails".  Hmmm, so either drive far away, punish my already battered liver, or use my precious legs.  Bummer - pass on all. Soooo, my wife and I essentially did whatever we could in a college town with a 17 month old in tow. Read: not a lot.

Probably one of the most important things that we did was check out Pre's trail.  Steve Prefontaine is a local track legend who met an untimely death.  At one time he held all of the USA records from 1M to 10K.  Anywhoo, his trail was going to be the highlight of the trip (from a tourist perspective).  Turns out if you're trying to save your legs for a marathon.... It's just a normal trail that takes about 2 min to see.  Bummer:

Pre's trail. Mustache not included

Since we arrived into town a full three days early (you know, to see all there is to see in Eugene), I went to the expo on Friday to try to avoid the large crowds.  The expo was pretty decent sized, but was a bit strange.  It was in a hotel, but wandered along the main floor hallways, in and out of conference rooms.  It was similar to an IKEA store, but with fewer meatballs, no assembly required, and everything cost a lot more.  Now, I am not saying that I am the smartest runner out there, but honestly, it was all a bit confusing - to the point that I could NOT find the race shirt to pick up.  I actually had to go back on Saturday because I realized that I missed it entirely on Friday! Why they didn't have the shirts near the bib pick up is beyond me.

Conference room 1 of.... 5? Maybe? Lord knows

What else did you expect me to wear to the expo?  
Nerdy yet funny print shirt just like I wore 90% of the time in highschool?  Check.

One thing that we did actually do in Eugene was browse a hippy flea market.  I guess there are a lot of hippies in Eugene?  It essentially had everything that you'd expect a market to have: Mushrooms, knit hats, un-bra'd bosoms, bongo drums, beaded necklaces, and more dread locks than a medical marijuana convention.  But, soon enough my legs were starting to feel tired so it was back to the hotel.  Afterall, I had a race to run!

Please do not feed the hippies
Unless you have extra Doritos or some beef jerky

Sooo, like I said, we spent lots of time hanging in the hotel. Which, with a young kid is just fine by me!  10x easier than trying to keep him away from the old lady w/ the big hair in the restaurant booth behind us.

Maxing and relaxing in the hotel on the couch

Hanging out WalMart style - no shoes, no shirt, and just a diaper.  Classy
Maybe we should throw the diaper in the parking lot to round out the role-play?

Who needs toys!? I've got drawers and a mini fridge!

The last thing we did (and honestly, this is quite literally a complete listing of the things we did in Eugene) was goto a few good microbrew pubs.  I suppose that is certainly a benefit of getting to a race location really early - no pressure to not drink!  The best part was that one of the more popular ones (Hop Valley) was literally across the street from our hotel.  I can't think of anything better after a long travel day with a toddler than to drink 9, 4oz beers.  Note: While I am very serious about my training, I fully believe that you have to live your life and not let a hobby completely rule what you do 24/7.  Yes, I did have a bit too much to drink during race week.  Turns out I did just fine...

Mmmmm, carb loading

I swear I don't remember this photo being blurry

Race Day:
With all of the sights (Pre's trail), smells (hippies, hippy oils), and tastes (micro brewed beer) all out of the way, it was time to race.  The day started early, but with all of the early morning miles that I'd been logging, not that much earlier than a normal long run.  However, because of some hotel shuttle issues, I got to the start of the race EARLY. Like, so early that they were still setting up the "born to run" music, the port o pots hadn't yet been violated, and they were still finishing up with the finish line setup.

The good part about virgin port o pots? They don't smell like ass.  
The bad part? Blue water splashback. I wish I were kidding.

The entrance into Hayward Field @ mile 26.1. 
I don't remember this part of the race

As I was sitting on a step looking like a hobo in my sweats (yelling incomprehensible things hobo style at passers by.. "So, I told them...Why banana get your treehouse!!") , I was checking twitter and noticed that Ronda (Little Fruit Fly) was ALSO running the race!  She's a friend of a friend, a twitter buddy, and ran something crazy like 12 half marathons last year.  Of course, this is someone that I'd like to meet!

We chatted each other up about how awesome Pre was, her race goals, and how it was nearly the perfect day for a run.  Read about her PR race here!

Blurry pictures taken by friendly strangers suck.  

He was probably shaking at how awesome we look?

Custom made cheering shirt from SUAR

Miles 1-5: Ease into the pace like you're squeezing the toothpaste out of the tube. Don't karate chop it
(7:13, 7:11, 7:14, 7:07, 7:04)
Like I said in my preview post, I wanted to run around 7:30s and then ease into marathon pace of 7:00.  As part of my modified Pfitz 18/70 plan (18 weeks long, peak at 70 miles per week) I consistently ran negative splits so I knew that I could do it in the race itself as long as I didn't get stupid.  (so, maybe like 50/50 chance). I figured if I ran at a pretty easy pace until the first real hill I'd be home free.

Of course, when I said 7:30 pace, I knew I'd run faster than that....but I still wanted to hold it to 7:15s.  I suppose I SORT OF did that through the first 4 miles or so. Kind of. ;)

The first 5 miles started out good.   There was a bit of a crowd, but because I start up towards the front it spreads out rather quickly.  I've turned into one of those runners that's a lot like the Jeff Foxworthy bit......  "In the bedroom, men are like a firecracker.... short fuse, quick explosion. But women are like a diesel engine.... get 'em warmed up and they'll go all night long!"  So, once I get warmed up, I can go for a while.

Mile 2.5ish. I'd guess 60% of these people were half marathoners shooting for a 1:35ish finish

Miles 6-10: Oh crap, did I catch up to the 3:05 pacer?  Bring on the bonk any second.
(6:56, 7:00, 6:49, 7:07, 6:56)
Honestly, these miles sort of just chugged along.  I wanted to be running 7:00 pace by this time, so when I saw a bit of a fast mile I'd slow down a bit and when I saw a slower mile I sped up a bit.  So, I had a few zig zaggy miles in there.  Not a TON back and forth, but enough to keep it interesting.

All the while as I was running I saw the 3:05 pacer.  Honestly? It scared the shit out of me.  I knew that I could run that fast but the thought that I was actually executing on a fast race freaked me out.  Sort of like when you find a $100 bill on the ground.  You pick it up, sure.  But you kind of look around to see if you're getting a prank pulled on you.  Well, my good feelings were not a prank.

Miles 11-15: G-l-a-m-o-r-o-u-s. Flying first classssss, up in the sky.... (and other random thoughts)
(7:09, 7:03, 7:01, 6:48, 6:51)
So, around mile 10 or 11, I caught up with the 3:05 pacer.  The issue?  There were ~20 people running with him!!  It was like a 7:05 pace log jam. So, I decided that I would run with him at least through the half, because the route weaved onto a bike path and I could pass the throng anyway.

As I'm running with the masses I honestly had my first chance to think of how I was feeling.  I felt GOOD. I went through the half in 1:32:50 and didn't feel a bit tired.  When we did go through the half and the pacer saw that he was a few seconds behind, he immediately picked up the pace - and I stuck with him.

Mile 14.5.  Still had enough energy to wave!

Miles 16-20: FINE, I'll go for the Boston Qualifier.  Jeeze, get off my back!
(6:42, 6:52, 6:52, 7:05, 7:01)
Around mile 15.5, we went up a slight hill and I was sick and tired of following the massive group of people. I'm not a follower, I'm a leader!  So, I took the chance and held pace and passed them all.  They dropped back to a "normal" pace of 7:05 and I continued to speed up.  In, fact, I actually threw a 6:40 in there for good measure.

Which, in hindsight might not have been a good idea.  I really started to feel the miles on my  legs around mile 18.  I'll admit, I braced for the bonk/wall/shit coming out of my pants.

Also, somewhere in here I tried refilling my Clean Water bottle while running at full speed.  Yeah, that worked about as well as you'd expect.  I spilled water ALL over my phone and actually spilled what little water was left in it.  Lovely.  The headphones didn't work right for the rest of the race.

Miles 20-23: Where is the bonk?  Isn't there supposed to be a wall around here...OH MY GOD I'M TIRED
(7:01, 7:11, 6:59, 7:02)
Sooooooo, here is when the miles start to get fuzzy.  I remember the following things:

  • I forgot to eat my last gel at mile 20 
  • Around mile 22 I started to let myself think that I had a chance at a Boston Qualifier 
  • I ran out of energy at mile 21. Everything else after that mile was TOUGH

Miles 24-26.2: Boston Boston Boston Boston Boston Boston!!!!!!!!!!
(6:56, 7:13, 7:17, 6:35 - last .2)
My heart rate was 195 for ALL of these miles. My lips were tingling and it took every ounce of energy that I had to continue to push forward without walking.  But, I did, and I finished in record time (TWSS).

Last 100 meters

Thumbs up if you feel like you're going to die!
(and actually look like it)

.....and then proceed to ACTUALLY die

Ok fine.  Not dead, but close. Very very close.

When I finished I was ROUGH.  Like, people asked me if I was OK for 30 minutes after the race ended.  But, what did I care? I left it out on the racecourse!!

Boston Victory, 12 oz at a time.

In an effort to get this post out, I'll save my final thoughts for another post.  It was an amazing day and a great exclamation point on an amazing training cycle.