Monday, October 29, 2012

My Crotch Hurts

Oh, silly fall humor - you always crack me up

It’s finally starting to look a little like fall (autumn?) in the Phoenix area.  I have to admit that fall really is my favorite time of year.  All of the colors, the cool crisp air, and the proliferation of pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING tell me that winter is right around the corner.  Of course, in Phoenix fall “colors” mean that the cactus turn from a shade of pale green to a shade of pale green, the desert rock lawns turn from brown to basically the same brown, and even the native bushes don’t do much.  OH, and the high is supposed to be 91 degrees today.  Wait, why is fall in Phoenix good again?  Of course, any runner knows the real answer: Fall means that when I run, my face doesn’t feel like it is going to melt off and my naughty bits don’t chafe as much.

Through some fate or fortune, the running gods enabled me to put together a pretty good week.  I ran 58 miles overall and even had a tempo run, fartlek, and marathon paced long run.   Each run seemed to be exactly where I wanted it pacewise with the exception of the fartlek.  I threw in 200m bursts at what I was hoping to be 5:30 pace but they were “only” at 5:50.  But, I can’t say that I should be surprised – not having focused on speed and instead having focused pretty hard on distance over the past few months means that some of the top end push is likely to disappear.  Cest la vie. With running, as with life, it is hard to be all things to all people/distances.

It hurts right there
One thing that has been nagging me has been a bit of a groin muscle issue. I really don’t know which muscle it is, but it is the one that connects the love muscle to the leg muscle.  I think that is verse 4 in the “head bone is connected to the neck bone” song.  Anyway, after a hard run on Sunday (16 miles, first 8 easy, last 8 at 6:45 pace – overall 7:08 pace), I did a bit too much sitting around surfing cat YouTube videos finalizing run coaching plans and not enough stretching my love muscle.  Of course, I’m certainly not about to try to roll out my crotch.  I have to think only bad things would happen from that.  One slip of my leg with all of my weight on the foam roller and my naughty bits flatten like a ball of dough under a rolling pin.  So I guess more yoga squat stretches are in order  - and maybe less love muscle stretching?    Nawwwwww.

What is your favorite part of fall?  I have to think my favorite part is the crisp air. The kind that fills your lungs and just feels....clean.  Other favorite part of fall? The Calvin Klein underwear models. Duh.

Oh, and the pumpkin spice stuff?  I know that I’m in the minority here....but if it were actually good, they’d sell it year round, wouldn’t they?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Funny Foto Friday: Election Confusion

Lots of little updates that I probably should make into a full post for each.....

After my quick turn run the other day, today logged 11 pretty good miles at 7:21 pace.  I’m on track to run nearly 50 miles this week which means I am well on my way to finding my running groove again.  I’ll run 60 miles next week and then I’ll be BACK!  I’m going to run the Shiner Beer Half Marathon in Mid December and am likely going to go for a 1:25-1:27.....Which basically means that I am going to have to put in more than a few puke threshold runs between now and then.


There was a murder a quarter mile away from my new place today.  It isn’t THAT bad of a neighborhood, but I guess that if you give someone a gun and enough drugs/booze, anything can happen.  I ran by it during my run today and there were SIX news trucks.  I didn’t even know that Phoenix had six news channels.....


It is politics time of year in the United States. I pay as little attention as possible (it is the American way) without being completely ill-informed.  Either way, I think it is crazy how some of the people act and how facts can be skewed.  A few years back, I did a post about some of the strange signs that were seemly in conflict of each other.  You can check out the original post here.  Well...... THEY’RE BACK!!!  So strange.

So, I'm voting yes to go but no to stop?  Can't I just vote "maybe"?

Especially in my oxygen deprived mid-run state, I couldn't figure it out.


Finally, I’m not political, but when a catchy as hell non-english video becomes the 3rd most popular video on YouTube (half a billion hits), I feel that it is my duty to post at least SOMETHING about it.  Gangnam style is a Korean rap song about the silly things that people do that are considered luxurious.  Original video here:


Well, since the elections are quickly approaching, someone with a nice suit and way too much time on their hands made a bit of a Mitt Romney parody that is pretty funny.  Because, if you can’t make fun of rich people or politicians, who CAN you make fun of? 

And, as if you didn’t have enough Korean in your head already, here is a great Halloween light version.  Happy Friday!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Quick Turn Run


Not all runs are destined to have the perfect setup.  Life gets in the way and causes less sleep than we should get, maybe a little bit of post happy hour dehydration (ok maybe a lot), or maybe just something that throws us off our game like a new sex swing timing.  Over the last 24 hours, I’ve experienced all three in what I am calling the quick turn run – running at night, and then immediately again the next morning.

The concept of a “quick turn” is taken from the airline industry.  Where, while running a bit behind, the ground crew will try as hard as possible to get people off of the plane, restock the barf bags and complimentary mile high club condoms in the bathrooms, and get the old ladies with walkers on for the next flight as fast as possible.  Why they don’t try to do this all the time....

Because of some scheduling issues, I wasn’t able to run Wednesday morning.  No worries – even though I am a morning runner and any run in the afternoon usually makes me feel like I want to barf, I really needed to get in some miles. So, I had planned on doing it in the evening.  But then, a happy hour was scheduled...which turned into a work dinner...which then turned into a big nice dinner.  Oyy.  I could have given myself LOTS of excuses (and, to be fair, I have many times before)....But this time I couldn’t.  I HAD to run, so 3 sangrias and 1 glass of wine later, I was fueled and ready to run!

The run SUCKED.  It was 6 bloated, heart burn inducing, gag reflex testing miles (kind of like all of my first dates!).  But, I was basically on pace, I didn’t die, and I have 6 miles under my belt for the week. Beautiful.

But this morning, 7 hours later and on 6 hours of sleep, I ran 9 more miles. It wasn’t the best run in the world, but it wasn’t shitty. (Both literally (I didn’t shit my pants) and figuratively (it didn’t suck too bad)).  In fact, I negative split it with an overall pace of 7:19.

While not something to do all the time, running evening and then morning CAN be done.  I’ve found....

  • Fueling: Odds are, if you’re running after a big dinner you’re plenty fueled.  Go lighter on the water to avoid any extra “volume” to be barfed up
  • Sleep: Get as much as you can between the runs, but know that the night after you’re going to need to get a little extra
  • Stretch: Going to bed right after a run is BAD, but try to make it as good as possible by giving your legs a good stretch workout before sleeping.
  • Difficulty: The second run will feel harder than you’re used to, but as long as you don’t have speedwork, you’ll be fine.  Running isn’t supposed to be easy 100% of the time.
  • Listen to your body: If you feel injured before you start the second day - don't go. 


Any other tips that I’m missing here?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekly Roundup: All about Juice

Spewing the Juice:
This week I've been down for the count with either food poisoning  some sort of 48 hour stomach flu, or quite honestly my innards finally rejecting all of the pop tarts and cheap wine I throw down there.  Starting Tuesday mid day, I didn't feel well and ended up barfing most of the night.  So, that was fun.  Top it off with around 6 hours of naps on Wednesday and I was full blown sick!

Obviously, I haven't done much running,which likely means I'm going to log a handful of sub 25 mile weeks for the first time in oh my god I think I'm getting slow!!! not long enough.  As much as I joke about getting slow, I know that I'm omg I need to go run intervals NOW basically fine. I'll just need to double down on EPO a bit over the next few weeks and get back into racing form.  Which, I did today - with a 8 miler at 7:31 pace that made me want to puke my innards out.  Hmmm.


Doing the Juice: 
The response to my post was about what I expected it would be. Nearly everyone said that they wouldn't cheat - myself included.  But, what if your job depended on it like it does for the top tier professional athletes?

For example, I personally think that medical marijuana is a farce created by the Frito-Lay corporation to increase the consumption of Funyuns - the disgusting fried onion "chip".  Who ELSE would eat those things except for stoners?   However, I make my living typing on a keyboard creating billions of dollars per week authoring this blog working on a laptop.  If for some reason my hands were paralyzed and for some reason medical marijuana could cure me, you bet your ass I'd buy a case of Snickers bars and would throw on the Bob Marley.  If my livelihood depended on it, I'd bend my morals. Just like I suppose some elite athletes choose to.  I like to think I wouldn't either, but then... would I?

Brian @ Earn Your Donuts made a great point in his comment.... putting yourself in a different situation brings all sorts of moral dilemmas....


Drinking the (watered down apple) Juice:  Errrr, my son likes apple juice.  Or milk, which I call "muscle juice".
If you don't have kids, ignore this part and scroll up to the barfing story.  If you do have kids, roll your eyes at someone else posting pictures of their kids and go post some of your own on Facebook.  Because that is what GOOD parents do, they post their kids and then roll their eyes at other parents.  Circle of life.

Last weekend my son and I ventured to one of the local pumpkin patches.  There were donkeys, (didn't like), goats (also didn't like), pigs (liked too much), and even baby chickens (didn't like but giggled when I made him pet them).  We did all the normal pumpkin patch stuff and he had a BLAST.

On the hayride!  Although, he was less interested in hay and more interested in the big fun tractor

I'm pretty sure this straw bale maze was 2 year old size

Time spent w/ pumpkins? 5 min. 
Time spent playing in the play house? 15 min.

If you only knew how long this picture took to set up...

Pumpkin patches take a lot out of you!
(I might have been doing the same thing behind the camera - complete w/ belly shot)

Funny Foto Friday: Pregnancy Fail

I'm no math major.... but something doesn't add up here....  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Doping: Would you do it?


I should probably start out this post by saying that I have never taken steroids, nor do I plan to.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d freebase cocaine powdered seal eyes if I thought that it’d help, but needles give me the heebie jeebies.  It’d probably help if seal eyes were blueberry flavor.

Source
Yesterday, elite runner Christian Hesch admitted to using “steroids” on and off for the last two years while competing in marathons and half marathons (as well as track races) around the country.  In fact, he most recently won the Rock and Roll Providence, RI race in 1:07 (Or, 67 minutes if you like) having ran a 4:00 mile just days before.  During the race he out kicked a few Kenyans and then had the douchey guts to do pushups prior to crossing the finish line.  Douche.

I used quotes around “steroids” because the drug that he used, Erythropoietin or EPO, actually just boosts red blood cell production. It’s normally a naturally occurring hormone that controls red blood cell production. Turns out, the more red blood cells you have the longer and harder you can push. (That’s what she said)  It’s also the same drug that is prolific in cycling and is what Lance Armstrong likely took for years and years.

Lance Armstrong really
bulked up lately
You can read all about his confession in this New York Times article as well as additional bits and pieces about how he snubbed his friend and senior Competitor.com editor here. Long story short, he’s been using it for a few years, has never been caught via a drug test, but someone found an empty vile in his bag and confronted him.

I sent the link to a friend who asked me a question that I had indeed thought of before: “Do you ever wonder how much taking EPO would help a normal runner like you or I?”  In short.....Yes, I do wonder that.

In the article it actually said that it wasn’t all that hard to get the drugs – a simple drive to Mexico was really all it took.  So, it isn’t about lack of availability as it is morals.  I’m 100% sure that I’d never take them to specifically make myself faster.  In fact, I said that I would likely not fully consider any super-downhill course a PR.  The guilt would get to me too much. Stupid morals....  But I really do wonder how much faster it would make me.  I mean, right now I run 7:00 min/miles for a marathon.  Would that drop me down to 6:00?  Or, would it be closer to 6:45/mile?

I certainly think that there is a certain "type" of runner that it would help.  The reality is that if you don't have the muscles, no amount of red blood cells are going to help you move your legs faster.  But, they will likely help you maintain the speed that you have already in your legs for longer periods of time.  Maybe?

So, would YOU ever consider it?  How much faster do you think it’d make a normal runner?


 

Friday, October 12, 2012

10 random things about my running & FFF


This last week post St George, UT marathon has been ROUGH.  Not only did the downhills destroy my quads to the point of not being able to walk on Sunday, but I also seem to have tweaked my hamstring.  So, while I ran 4 miles on Thursday, I am taking today off to try to rest.  Lots of stretching, rolling, and cursing at my leg to make it hurry up and heal.  Some of it is working, most of it isn’t.  I’m likely going to bike on Saturday and try running again on Sunday.  Hopefully. 


Recently, Phoenix run-blogger Missy tagged me to tell 10 random things about myself.    Since this is mostly a running blog, I decided that it would be best served if I made my 10 random things about running!

I didn’t run in high school or middle school.  Period.  The only reason I ran was if I had to pee really really bad or if I was doing the Presidential Fitness test and had to run a mile.  I remember the basketball coach telling me that I should consider track, but looking back I have to think that was sort of like someone saying “you have to smell this, it smells HORRIBLE!”  He was trying to pawn me off so I wouldn’t try to join HIS team!  If your sport has balls, I’m likely not going to know what to do with it. (For the record, goes with lots of things that involve balls)

I “started” running during a summer internship in college (in Normal, IL). I would run along a rails-to-trails path in shoes that I used to mow the lawn. I promptly developed horrible shin splints. This was the first time that I was 100% responsible for my own meals, etc so the running basically fueled my oven chicken nugget and French fry habit.  After that internship, I didn’t run for distance again for another 4 years.

I “started again” after going to the doctor for my first ever physical and finding out that I had high blood pressure.  Blood pressure that was far too high for a 24 year old to ever have. It was 180/100.  Oyy. I was sent home with a blood pressure monitor, a stern lecture about losing weight, and the threat of blood pressure lowering medicine.  As soon as I found out that there were sexual side effects of that, I KNEW that I had to do something.  Lord knows I don’t want any decreased “performance” in that area!  Can you go negative on the “performance” scale?

I’ve lost 50 pounds using the Subway diet and running.  I joke that I used the Subway diet, but looking back for a period of about 8 or 10 months, I’ll bet I ate it 7 or 8 times a week.  I was traveling M-Th for work, so it was either a fairly healthy sandwich or a trip down the cholesterol choo choo train.  First stop: butter.

The very first time that I put on a race bib was at the Kansas City Marathon.  I love this fact because it shows how stupid I was thinking that I would just sign up for a marathon and be totally fine.  I ran that race with a $10 walmart timex watch that I still own and nothing else.

I now NEVER run without my Garmin 910XT.  Praise data, GPS be thy name.

I essentially ran/walked the last 8 miles of that first marathon. Oyy!

Somewhere along the way I’ve won 2 races and placed in an age group in another. They were both SUPER small races where all of the fast people went to a different race in town the same weekend. Winning a race was fun, but it was HARD.  It was essentially like a track session, all by myself

Unfortunately, I’ve had nearly every running injry you can have.  Stress fracture, shin splints, slightly ruptured tendon, strained muscles, hamstring, quad, plantar fasciitis, IT band.  BLARG!!!  Fortunately, 90% of those are before I became a “smart” runner and decided to take rest days when I needed them vs just pushing through pain.

Over an hour separates my personal worst marathon (Chicago 2008, 4:05:49) and my best marathon (Eugene 2012, 3:04:00).

----------------------------------------------------

Alright, since I can’t really count and today is Friday, I figure we can probably stop with the facts and we can get on to the funny foto Friday.

RIP Neil. He was a rather quiet guy, but apparently HILARIOUS.

 I literally laughed out loud at this one

Finally, recently I went out to eat w/ my team at a restaurant near Arizona State Univ.  October has always been one of my favorite months, but I have to think that the Octoberfest celebration might just make it a little bit better.  Happy Friday!

IronChad noted that I got the "Lady Size"


Monday, October 8, 2012

St George Marathon Race Report!

Click to enlarge! (TWSS)
What goes up (via painfully long school bus ride) must come down (via 26.2 miles of leg crushing downhills).  On Saturday I ran the St George Marathon. Today, Monday, I can barely walk.

Time: 3:07:29
Pace: 7:07
Place: 275 / 5696
AG Place: 33 / 377
Average HR:  I don’t know! Forgot my HR monitor. Doh!  Let's assume it was a billion beats per second.

My race weekend actually started Thursday night with a flight to Las Vegas.  It turns out that St George, UT is essentially tucked in the middle of nowhere and is nearly impossible to get to without flying to another city and driving 2+ hrs in.  It honestly didn't bother me because that meant that I got to stay a night in Vegas on my way to the race.  VEGAS!!!  WHOOOO!!!  PARRRR--TAAAAY!!!

Of course, since I had a key race in 36 hours, that means that I didn't want to drink at all.......drink too much......wanted to be able to remember my name, didn't want to be on my feet a whole lot, and certainly didn't want to be sucking in a lot of smoke.  Sooooooooo, I sort of saw Vegas from the view of my hotel bed.  Oh well, I guess I could say that I spent some time in Vegas.  Of course, there are no pictures of Vegas because whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas......or else some mafioso comes and bashes in your knees.

The next day, I got some french toast at a casino buffet (carbo loading?) and headed north to Utah.

Is this the part of Vegas where they hide all the bodies?
Or, is it where the hookers go to die?  "Cause of death? Being a hooker....."

This is what I do when I'm in the car.
The vein in my head means that I am really scared of hitting a hooker's body


After I drove through 2 hrs of barren wasteland that both God and time forgot, I went directly to the expo.  While there, I needed to grab 3 things.  My bib, my free T-Shirt, and booty shorts a new Spi-belt (fanny pack) to put my phone while I ran.

While I was hunting around for my bib, I noticed that they didn't have a "booth" for bib numbers 1-500.  Turns out that is because those runners are considered "Elite Runners" and have their own separate "area"!!  I have to admit, I felt both strange and entitled to be considered "Elite".  Sort of like how I envision vegans feel after they tell people they're vegan.

Bwhahahaha.  Yeah, they were WAY off on that one

One of the reasons I left Vegas when I did was so that I could see the Keynote speaker - Bart Yasso.  Bart is the "Chief Running Officer" at the Runner's World magazine. So much as I can tell, that means that Runners World sends him on trips and he writes 1/2 a page stories about his adventures. Make no mistake, it is GOOD to be Bart.

Bart Yasso, the Mayor of Running, and I!  I'm basically famous now.
Is it just me or does it look like he is giving me a diploma or one of those big million dollar checks?

Race morning was essentially like any other.  I got up way too early, got ready to run (pooped), and hopped on a bus that took us up and up and up, 25 miles on the course to the starting line in the middle of nowhere. If there is one thing I can say about the St George Marathon, it was extremely well organized.  You could certainly tell that they had been doing this for 30+ years.  Things were well marked, there was enough of everything, I have zero complaints.

Elite starting area!? I really hope this elite crap doesn't go to my head....

One thing that I didn't even think of was that being at 5200 feet of elevation meant that it was COLD. Much colder than the city of St George.  Fortunately, they were hollering about this at the expo and I bought a pair of disposable gloves and a disposable shirt to stay warm.  Or, basically the best $10 I've spent in my life.  After 6 months of running in 80 degree weather, anything below 60 feels like I have two ice cubes firmly tucked between my legs.

I haven't seen temps this cold in 10 months

Pre-race nerves = self photos.  I still get nervous every single time before a race.

REALLY? Is it a good idea to have fire this close to port 'o' pots?
Haven't they heard of methane??

The 55 gal drums were cool though, had carvings in them all over the place

Miles 0 - 6.2 - Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee  (Overall pace 7:01 / mile - 3:03 marathon pace)
The first 10k went by in a blur.  Part of that was because it was DARK.  Since it was in the mountains, there were few street lights, no spectators, and very little chatting among the runners who were on pace for a 3 hour marathon.  In fact, because of the race's course, there were really only spectators at a few points during the race which was quite a bit different than the Rock and Roll races that I've done in the recent past.

One nice thing was that when it was light out, I noticed that there were hand made signs on EVERY SINGLE reflector on the side of the road.  I'll bet there were hundreds of them - one very 100m or so.  It was amazing to think of all of the time and effort everyone put in to put those out.

My race plan came together for these miles.  I ran a few around 7:20, one around 7:00 and the rest around 6:45.

Miles 6.2 - 13.1 - Oh.My.God. I have to run UP that hill?? (Overall pace 7:08 / mile - 3:07 marathon pace)
The downside of running a mostly downhill race is that you can almost always see what is coming in front of you.  That means that the "little" hill at mile 7 (elevation below) could be seen for 2 miles.  What looks like a little blip was essentially a mile of hell.  I went from running 6:50 pace to running 8:20 pace.  It was TOUGH!  Somehow I only let my per mile pace slip to 7:30 on the 2 miles covering the hill.

By this time the sun was out and I could see the runners in front of me.  I have to admit that I was surprised at how many runners there were in front of me.  This was a FAST field of racers.  I know that a lot of people use this race to try to get a BQ, and I guess most of those people must have gone sub 3 hours!

Miles 13.1 - 20 - Welp, there goes my "A" goal. (Overall pace 7:05 / mile - 3:05 marathon pace)
When I crossed the half in 1:33, I knew that sub 3 was almost entirely out of the question.  I did some quick mental math and realized that I would have to run 6:30s nearly the entire way in and I just couldn't get my legs to go that fast.

It wasn't that I was tired or out of breath, my legs just didn't have a second gear on the downhills to go any faster. I could "only" chug along at a 7:00 pace, breathing fine, but with strong discomfort in my legs with every step.  I'll admit that it was a bit frustrating to know that I had the cardio to go faster but I didn't have the leg strength.

Around mile 18, my hamstring started to ache and my quads really started to get sore.  In spite of that, I tried to stay on pace as much as possible - even gaining a few seconds here and there where I could manage to block out the pain and kick it up a notch.

Miles 20 - Finish - Ouch... Ouch... Ouch... Ouch... (Overall pace 7:07 / mile - 3:07 marathon pace)
I wasn't prepared for the hills.  I had originally planned to do MUCH more downhill running than I did in prep for this race but I didn't.  I knew on the starting line that this would come to bite my in the ass (quads) eventually, and it did around mile 21.  I was still holding pace, but it was PAINFUL.

I finally did start to get out of breath, like you'd expect from 23 miles of running.  More than anything, I just wanted the race over.  I missed my A and B goals so I was sort of running for second best at that point.  That sort of middle ground between "I'm not going to set a PR" and "I don't want this race to last any more than humanly possible".


Oh yes, it was every bit of this downhill

The tongue sticking out means that I felt like I wanted to die

Bart Yasso Seal Of Approval

Cool info-graphic that the race had put together on my time.


Overall, I'm basically happy with how the race went.  If you remember to my race preview post, my "A" goal was sub 3, "B" goal was 3:04, and my "C" goal was sub 3:15.  So, I didn't hit my A or B goals, but I hit my C.  I think that it is interesting that I somehow seemed to thread the needle between having a spectacular PR race and blowing up while shitting myself.  If I am being honest, I am not overly happy with the result, but not particularly disappointed either.  I knew that my legs would struggle with the downhills, and I was right.

However, as I sit here on Monday, quite literally barely able to walk because of the beating my legs took, I know that I left it all out on the course.  In the end, that is all I ever ask for of myself.  Give everything that day and live to race another.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bonus!!!  These two videos were posted on the St George marathon website.  They are worth a watch if you are looking for inspiration or are curious about the course.  The first one is shorter, a bit more commercial, but WAY inspirational   The second one is longer and more of a summary of the St George race in general.  Enjoy!








Friday, October 5, 2012

Funny Foto Friday: Drunk Texts

I have a confession. I'm pulling a bit of internet trickery on you, my blog reader. I'm actually a 50 year old pot bellied guy.  You see, normally I sit down, write a blog post, and hit "publish".  This time however I put a bit more thought into it and am scheduling this one to post while I'm in St George. Magic!  But, uh...that means I'm not at home.  So, this is when I mention my place is protected by guard dogs, razor wire, and pictures of me in the nude. Haven't been broken into yet!

This week's funny foto Friday is something that everyone loves to make fun of, but everyone has likely done at one time or another.  Drunk texting.

I have to admit that I very very rarely drunk text.  I've found that drunk tweeting to 3000 or so of my closest friends is much more effective than only one person getting in on my hilarity!  That is of course because, like most guys, when I drink I get hilarious and everyone else gets deaf.

Anyway, the website SmartPhowned.com collected a few HILARIOUS drunk texts that were user submitted. They might not be all real, but I like to pretend they are. Happy Friday!


That could TECHNICALLY be possible.... I suppose...

OH dear. That is "awk".

I like to pretend I'm a surfer dude turtle when I'm in the pool.

TOTALLY doing this someday (giving someone a paper plate)

Better than calling someone Dumbledore I suppose

Sadly, this IS pretty good. 
Almost makes up for being so drunk that your GF had to change your shirt.

LOL!!!!

Now, that is an easy mistake! I mean, he could have been.... oh right, drunk.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

St George Marathon Race Preview!

Why are those bales of
hay in plastic? Strange
I have to admit, I always love sitting down and writing these race preview posts.  You can use whatever kitschy saying you want.....  “They hay is in the barn”......“It’s all downhill from here” ......”If you kill a hooker, make sure you wash your hands with bleach”.....”There is no going back now!”  The long and short of it is that there is very little that I can do to make my race this weekend better, so I might as well sit down and set some fun goals and see what happens.

I’m pretty sure I said in my Eugene marathon race preview (too lazy to look...but...you totally should) that I’ve moved from running a million races to running a few specific “KEY” races.  There are lots of advantages to this strategy.  You can be hyperfocused on one goal and can train very specifically for one event.  But, I’ll admit, it is way harder to stay motivated without interim milestones every month or two of an all-out half marathon or even marathon.  This training cycle I let a few life events (rightfully) take my focus away a bit and haven’t been nearly as sharp as I would like. So, instead of 70 miles per week, I’m running 60, and instead of speed 3x a week, I’m running speed once.  To be clear, I think I’m probably only 2-4 min slower than my marathon PR right now, but it still naws at my brain like the Meow Mix commercial song.

So the goals... Like I always say on these goal posts, I’m a goal person.  I like having something planed, executing that plan, and then pissing and moaning when the plan goes wrong.  How can I complain about something if I don’t know what I should be complaining about!!??  So, here is what I am going to shoot for – and then bitch about when I crash and burn.

My A Goal
This picture NEVER gets old
A Goal: Sub 3:00 (6:52 pace) – If I’m being honest, I just think it would be cool as hell to run a marathon within an hour of the world record.
B Goal: Sub 3:04 (7:01 pace) – Beat my current PR
C Goal: Sub 3:15 (7:25 pace) – Run it faster than my current “long run” pace

I’ve spoken with a handful of people who all agree that St George is a faster than “normal” marathon.  How fast depends on the person you ask, but the general thought is that for someone at my speed it is 5-10 min faster.  The downside? I am currently “slow”.  Now, before you start throwing rotten tomatoes at me, by “slow” I just mean I don’t think that I could beat my normal PR right now on a “normal” course.  But, St George isn’t normal at all....

I think I’m going to start out around 7:10 pace for the first few miles and then settle into 6:50ish.  I’ll hold that for the first hour until I hit the uphill portion.  The uphill spot is where everyone says the “real” race starts.  I always tell people that I coach that most runners run too fast on the uphill and too slow on the downhill.  So, I plan on slowing all the way down to 7:30 or 7:40 on the 3 uphill miles and then hammering the second half.  In a perfect world, I’d hit the half right around 1:30 and would run 6:30s until the finish.  That’d put me at 2:57ish which would result in pelvic thrusts across the finish line, high fives to strangers (which I don’t do – germs), and likely some vomit.

The reality of course is that the downhill is going to DESTROY my legs and I’ll likely walk some after mile 22.

BUT, the nice thing about my all-or-nothing approach to racing is that the race report blog posts are AMAZING.  Either I celebrate with a huge PR or I get to rant and rave about how I was passed by the 80 year old dude wearing jeans and flip flops as he “jogged” to the finish.   But, at least it’s all downhill from here!