Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Three for Three

ORN: 55 minutes, 4/1

Three days in a row! WOW. Somewhere near the end of today's run I actually started to feel good about running. It's coming BACK!

I changed to a 4/1 ratio [from 5/1] and that helped. It was also a beautiful day, and that helped. It was one of those days where you have to work hard NOT to enjoy running.

Good stuff!!


Monday, January 30, 2006

Quarters and a steam

ORN: warm up, 5 "quarters", cool down

I headed to the gym today. I need to do something to get fired up so I thought hitting the treadmill and doing some "speed work" might be the way to go. And, it seemed to work.

Now, "speed" is a relative term. I warmed up by walking and "easy" jogging for 1/2 mile and then did 5, 1/4 mile "repeats". I ran 1/4 of a mile at a 10 minute pace, then walked for a tenth of a mile, then ran another 1/4, and so on for a total of 5 quarters.

There's something refreshing about doing "speed" work after having spent most of the past 6 months just cranking out long runs. I need to be careful. Too much speed is NOT a good thing. But once a week should be fine.

Then I hit the steam room. I'd never been in a steam room until about a month ago. I'd just seen them on TV and in movies. I kinda liked it. I don't perspire much so it felt strange to just be covered in sweat!

Running is starting to feel a bit more normal. This is a good thing!


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Close, but no cigar

ORN: 70 minutes, 5/1

We are having an amazing January here in Chicago. It was overcast and a little drizzly today, but the temperature was in the high 40's. I started off in tights, a couple of long-sleeved shirts, and a jacket, but quickly shed the jacket.

I started on my "normal" 50 minute loop, but in the back of my mind I thought that if I felt good where I would usually turn that I would go a bit farther. I wasn't ready to call it a long run, but at least I was considering going "longer" than I had.

Maybe it was the day. Maybe it was being able to take off my jacket and gloves - I don't know. I do know that when I had the change to turn around I didn't. I kept running. And it almost felt like I was running because I wanted to, not because I had to.

That's the danger in doing what I did last fall. The 4 marathons - not to mention all the long training runs - became something that I HAD to do. Even though my body is feeling closer to recovered, my spirit is just not ready to start thinking about training again.

But, it's getting better. And for now I'll take that.


Friday, January 27, 2006

One step closer

ORN: 50 minutes, 5/1

I'm still not there, but I'm getting closer. Today's run almost felt normal. It wasn't the "joy of the journey" experience that I usually have, but I didn't hate it.

There are still some leftover aches and pains. My left inner groin is still sore. I still think from all the walking. There are other bits and pieces of my body that still aren't right. It's just gonna take time.

The question of "what next" keeps crossing my mind. I don't have an answer, and won't maybe for a little while.

And so it goes. This is what I DO like about running. The self-discovery, the mystery, the not ever being able to figure it out.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Try, try again

ORN: 50 minutes, 5/1

It was COLD but clear along the lakefront. I hadn't run since Saturday's disheartening walk back. Not to mention the sore knee. So I didn't have high expectations.

As it turned out, things were fine. It wasn't one of those mind-blowing runs where I just feel a peace with the world. But, it also wasn't a painful experience either.

I'm close to ready to run again. That's pretty clear. But I'm not there yet. The Goofy [training and races] took more out of me than I expected.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Still trying

January 24, 2006

Well, I still can't get myself ready to run. After the fiasco on Saturday, I just CAN NOT make myself get out there again. There's really nothing to do except wait.

I actually think that's part of the problem with doing LONG races that take SO much time to prepare. Once it's over it's hard to get back out there

So, I'm going to continue to take my own advice and wait!


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Too much, too soon

ORN: 90 plus minutes, 4/2: 45 minutes, WALK

I went out on a training run today with Jenny's Winter Warriors team. Most of them are training for either our Arizona Distance Classic or the Country Music Marathon or Half Marathon. They had a 9 mile run scheduled.

We got a little bit of snow last night so that path was clear but slippery in spots. Truth is, it was one of the prettiest mornings we've had all winter. Clear blue sky, bright sunlight, and fresh snow. The BEST!

I was a little nervous about trying to go 9 miles. I'm nowhere near recovered, but I figured I'd line up and see how it went. It went FINE until about 90 minutes into the run. At that point my left knee was starting to talk to me. I've learned -the hard way - to listen when my knee first starts whispering to me rather than waiting until it's SCREAMING at me. So, I bagged it and walked back to the store.

All in all a decent experience, though. It was such a beautiful day that I would have hated to miss it. And I haven't gotten to run with the Winter Warriors much this season so that was good too.

But, I'm not ready for long runs yet. Not even close. I'll take tomorrow off and try something short on Monday.

Waddle on,


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Baby Steps

ORN: 40 minutes, 4/1

I was up doing an appearance at the Holland [MI] Hospital and had a chance to run with a few folks from Holland. More than a few, actually. Nearly 80 people showed up on a VERY cold night.

We had a great time. It was fun to be back out there running with a group. I'm still not 100% fired up about running, but I'm beginning to ease my self back into it.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Back at it

ORN: 50 minutes. 5 min. warm up. Run 4/walk 1 for 45 minutes

I got back out there. I could tell today that my attitude hard turned sour and whether my body felt like it or not I needed to get out and run. It was near freezing so I just bundled up and went out.

A quick inventory: I've got some tightness in my left knee that's not usually there. Not sure if that's left over from Goofy or just from standing so much this past weekend. More curious, I've got some residual aches [not really pain, but it's something] on both sides of my inner, upper thighs. I can never remember if those are abductors and adductors, but whatever they are, they're sore.

My guess is that it's from the walking, not the running.

By the time I was coming home it had started to snow. It was that light, warm-ish snow that makes you feel like you're inside of one of those things you shake up and make it snow inside. I little boy, probably 3 or 4 was walking with his mom and he was trying to catch the snowflakes on his gloves. VERY cute.

I still haven't figured out what I want to do next. Jenny suggested an ultra! There's a 50K in Wisconsin in May. I'm thinking more like a 10K. We'll see.


Monday, January 16, 2006

What's next?


As you can tell from the empty space on the blog, I haven't been doing any running lately. The truth is that the thought of running hasn't even crossed my mind since Disney.

The training for Goofy took months. Even though it snuck up on me I think I always had it in the back of my mind. I had been preparing for the Chicago marathon pretty seriously all summer long. That led to Marine Corps, which led to the Tucson Half marathon and the Honolulu Marathon. I am, frankly, just tired of training.

This happened one other time in my running life. One year I ran the Chicago and Marine Corps marathons on back-to-back weekends. The intensity of the training for that double left me with NO desire to train afterwards. And I didn't train. For nearly a year. I ran. But I didn't "train".

So, I'm still not sure what's next. I ended up walking about 4 1/2 miles of the Rock "n" Roll marathon course yesterday. In cotton slacks and street shoes! But, I was on the course, feeling the "vibe" of being out there.

I'm "thinking" about going for a little run this afternoon. I'll let you know tomorow if I went, and if I did, how it felt.

Waddle on,


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Fallout from Disney

ORN: 0

Two days after the marathon [3 days after the 1/2] I am amazed at how little hurts and how good I feel. There's no question that I've been physically tested, but I have felt MUCH worse after a marathon than I do today. I don't have an explanation except that my goals and strategy for the Goofy were so modest that even with Saturday's problem I didn't beat myself up.

Emotionally, I'm on a real high. I'm not usually the guy who does the "cool" stuff, like the "Goofy". And the truth is if I hadn't been invited to speak I never would have tried it. After all these years and all the running and racing I'm still pretty insecure about my abilities.

I feel a lot like I did after my first marathon. Surprised! And the truth of "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start" is really hitting home.


Monday, January 09, 2006

My Disney "Goofy's Challenge" Report

Thursday, January 5th: Arrival at Disneyworld.

The flight down was easy enough and my intention was to get in a short run in the afternoon. Jenny and I decided to check out the expo and pick up our packets. It’s a good thing we did.

The expo and packet pickup area was already hopping by Thursday afternoon. We managed to get our numbers without much hassle, but it took so long that I never did get a chance to run.

Friday, January 6th: The day before

I had some meetings Friday, which ended up taking all morning, so there was no chance to run before the clinic Jenny and I were to give at 1:30. I was a little nervous since it would have been 3 days without running. But, there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

There were two Team in Training pasta parties on Friday afternoon and evening, so I didn’t get back to the room until nearly 10 PM. Our call for transportation to the start was at 3:15 AM, so getting plenty of sleep wasn’t going to be an option.

I laid everything out in advance, set the alarm for 1:55 AM [which would have been 12:55 AM in my brain] and tried to get a little sleep.

Saturday, January 7th. The Half Marathon

Race morning for the ½ Marathon was COLD. COLD. We were told we would be able to stay on the bus until nearly race start, but, something got messed up and we had to get off the bus over an hour before the start. I hadn’t brought clothes for sitting around and so ended up VERY chilled before the race started.

Something in my lower intestine was NOT happy Saturday morning. I’m not sure – still – what it was but I was very, VERY uncomfortable. The irritation also caused me to have to stop about every mile to water the flowers in Disneyworld.

I was having an awful race. Awful. I was struggling to maintain my pace and run/walk interval [3 minute run/2 minute walk]. But, there really wasn’t anything to do but keep going. I managed to hang in and finish the ½ in 3 hours and 8 minutes.

When I got back to the room and slept like a dead-man for 2 hours, then had to get ready for the Saturday clinic. Once that was over I got back to the room and “iced down” my lower abdomen. This is NOT all that much fun, but whatever was irritated was also inflamed and I had to do something.

It was like Déjà vu all over again on Saturday night, setting out a new set of clothes, pinning on a new number, strapping on a new chip. A very strange experience.

Sunday, January 8th. Marathon Day

The good news is that I was able to fall asleep by a little after 7 PM, so I actually did get a decent night’s sleep before the alarm went off at 2:25 AM Sunday morning. The better news was that they figured out the bus situation and we were able to stay on the bus until about 5:30. After that I was at the stage area at the start and was able to stay under a heat lamp.

As bad as Saturday was, Sunday was that good and better. I could NOT believe it. I started running with the idea that I would go as far as I could and then stop. I planned to alternate running for 2 and a half minutes and walking for 2 and a half minutes as long as I could and then walk as far as I could before the SAG bus picked me up.

Every mile I kept waiting for the wheels to come off, for my legs to give out, and for my day to come to a screeching halt. It didn’t happen. It just kept getting better.

I came across the half of the full in 3 hours and 7 minutes. I was stunned. But, I just put my head down and kept going. 20 miles into it I was still feeling strong, still on pace, and still on the interval plan.

By mile 23 I was certain that I would finish. I knew I had plenty of time to walk slowly and still beat the SAG bus. I got pretty emotional. My eyes welled up and I thought I my cry right there on the spot.

I forced myself to slow down and “enjoy” the final miles of this 39.3-mile journey and finished in 6 hours 15 minutes. I had run all three halves within a minute of each other. Unbelievable.

So, the question is; what are the lessons? The answer: I’m not sure.

The mystery of the marathon remains a mystery. Sunday was my 44th marathon, my 4th in the past 4 months, and yet I can tell you with complete candor that I have no idea what happened. I also can tell you that I have no idea what happened on the ½ marathon.

It’s part of why I’m so fascinated by the sport of long-distance running. How can you understand something that is so diabolically fickle? How can you grasp something so cunning and unpredictable?

I can’t. And maybe that’s the only lesson I need to learn. I will never understand. I will never truly master the art of marathoning no matter how much I know about the science of marathoning.

And the obvious question: will I do it again? I don’t know. Yesterday I said no way. Today I think probably not. But tomorrow?? Who knows?

Waddle on, friends.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ready to Rip

ORN: 0

I had a friend who, when asked how he felt, would say: "I feel like a tight pair of pants. Ready to rip". That's about where I'm at. I fly to Orlando tomorrow where I'll try to get in a 20 minute run or so, stumble through Friday, and then that's it.

On the "mental" side, I think I've finally got my head around a way of thinking. I've done three marathons and a half in the past 3 months. So, my "thought" plan is that I should have NO problem running the first "half" on Saturday and the second "half" on Sunday. And, with the break, I should be able to go out to 20 miles or so without much of a problem.

That only leaves the last 10K as the "unknown".

At least, that's how I'm thinking about it.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Finishing Touches

ORN: 45 minutes, 4/1

All I have left was today's run, tomorrow's run, and a light walk on Friday morning. Guess I'm as ready as I'm going to be.

There's no particular goal for this week except to not go crazy. The run actually felt pretty good. I've got some kind of chest cold or alergy going on [typical for the week before the event] but other than that I'm feeling fine.

Well, OK, I can't sleep. Don't feel like eating. And don't want to DO anything.



Monday, January 02, 2006

Rest Day and Blog Terms

ORN: 0

A few people have asked abou the terms I use. I can't figure out a way to do an FAQ so every now and then I'll try to post a mini-FAQ.

ORN: Obligatory Running Note: This term originated on one of the first internet-based, email list called "The Dead Runners Society". It was - at the time - a "secret" group to which you had to be invited. The members were mostly academics and government types [this was in the mid 1990's before the internet was so universal]

The members tended to go "off topic" on things like sports or politics so they instituted an "ORN" rule. You HAD to put an "obligatory running note" in every post.

The "numbers": 5/1, 4/2, 3/2, etc: These represent the run/walk ratio that I used that day. The first number is the running time in minutes. The second number is the walking time, in minutes. So a 60 minute run, at 5/1 would be running 5 minutes, walking 1 minute, and then repeating that until I got to 60 minutes.


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Better Safe than Sorry

ORN: 45 minutes, 4/1

Have I mentioned that I HATE the taper part?? This is just awful. I mean, I'm a pretty upbeat guy and this is making me NUTS.

I got out and ran most of my normal loop. I say "most" because I was only going to run 45 minutes so I had to turn around before I got to the top of the loop. The weather was decent, especially for January 1 in Chicago so I guess I should be grateful for that.

I just got the "transportation" infomation from Disney. My bus will depart at 3:15 BOTH days. That's 2:15 in my brain. I'm toying with the idea of trying to reset my body clock before I get to Orlando, but I'm not sure.

See, all the indecision!! I hate this part!!