Monday, March 31, 2008

Something about an old dog and new tricks

I have never been a morning runner. I know from reading "Runner's World" that most runners like to run in the morning but I have never been one of those people. I am, however, the quintessential morning person. I have always been at my best for work early in the morning. I get up at 5 A.M. and am at work by 6. I love the early morning quiet and peacefulness. I just can't RUN in the morning! I don't know why, I just can't. 

With my current schedule, morning runs would work out best. I have so much going on during the day and evening that it is getting harder and harder to get the miles in. Add the fact that in my training plan I am currently running no less than 11 miles for every run and it gets really hard to find the time to do it.

So yesterday I decided that I would turn over a new leaf. I was going to start running in the mornings and get my miles in first thing before the rest of my work/family day stole my running time. I was going to sacrifice a few hours of my morning work-time (very hard for the workaholic) and give that time to my running. I was pumped, this was going to be great.

I made it .35 miles

I just can't do it! I got up and dressed at 5 A.M even wore my favorite hat but my body just couldn't run. I felt stiff and tight and never got a good stride going. It was very dark and very quiet which is different than when I run in the evening where there is plenty of background noise to get lost in. This morning I was left with only the voices in my head and all they could say was "What the heck is this crap? Shouldn't we be at work?". 

So I gave in and walked home in the dark. I don't know, morning running is just not for me. I haven't totally abandoned the idea though. Tomorrow I will try again. I have no choice, my son has his first track meet tomorrow at 4 P.M. and it will last most of the evening so if I want to run I have to go in the morning. Wish me luck, better yet, if you're up at 5 A.M. Central time, send some good vibes my way. I'll need them.

P.S. My son is running the 400, 800, 1 mile, and 4X800 tomorrow. I can't wait to see him 1) run GREAT and WIN! and 2) be in horrible pain and soreness the next day! Ahh, who am I kidding, he's 13 and feels no pain. Oh youth, where have you gone???

Thanks for listening 

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I'm a thief!

Ok so I was messing around with my blog layout and just got really sick of it so I decided to change my template. I found the Harbor template and liked it a lot. It seemed oddly familiar but I couldn't put my finger on it until I went to see if Southbay Girl had made any new posts. Ah HAH! Planet YNNEP uses the Harbor template! That's where I have seen it. 

So this is my official request to use the same template as my absolute favorite, best written, most elegant, fantastically maintained (How's the flattery working??), blog in the world, Planet YNNEP. So can I? Please, please, please, please, pretty please with sugar on top???

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Through the miles

I've been on the road since last Monday and am very glad to be home. I spent last week in New York where it was in the 30's and 40's and snowed late in the week. It was in the 80's all week back home in Oklahoma so I was a little peeved that I missed the good weather. Usually I love NY because I can get some great hill workouts but this time I didn't get to run any hills. I had a great trip otherwise.

I ran 6 miles on Monday after getting off the airplane so everything in my body was tight and didn't want to move. I slugged on and got a good run in but I was supposed to do 12 that day so I slacked off a little. I did some Pilates in the hotel room on Tuesday but didn't run and I should have. Tuesday was the nicest day of the week and it went down hill from there. Wednesday it was cold and I met up with some old friends for a great Italian dinner of Gnocchi and whiskey and more whiskey and, oh yea, more whiskey. We end the evening by going to a big grocery store and raiding their dark chocolate isle for desert! OHHH (insert Homer Simpson voice) Dark Chocolate! Needless to say, not only didn't I run, I probably fell off the wagon a little and regressed in my training but I don't see these friends often so I'll call it a special event and move on. Thursday we headed up to our airport and I got in 8 miles before dinner. This was interesting because I had never run in this area before and ended up running in some really busy areas. I was almost roadkill a couple times. I even heard some squirrels and opossums making snide comments about how stupid I was to be running on those roads! I survived and made it back (late) for dinner at a GREAT BBQ joint! 

Woke up Friday morning to get on a plane and it was snowing, hard. Luckily we were in a place that knows about snow and it wasn't a big deal for them. Our plane made it out of there and we got home safe and sound. The 80 degree weather was gone though, and it is now cold here! Oklahoma weather Gods have a weird sense of humor.

I ran 14 miles this morning with the Oklahoma Landrunners and had a wonderful time. It was misty and a little cold but not too bad. Actually wonderful running weather, Southbay Girl would have loved it. We ran the hilly course here in Edmond and had a great crowd. I met some new people and ran with some old friends. It it great to be home. 

OKC marathon in a couple weeks, I'm nervous but am feeling good after the leg problem and a cold. Things usually come in 3's so I'm waiting on the last ailment and trying to take it easy. Not much I can do in these last few weeks but maintain and hopefully not get hurt! 

ALMOST FORGOT: My son is on the middle school track team and he ran his time trials this week. He WON the 400 and the 800! He also ran a 6:03 in the mile. OK, that's my best mile time from last year. I am very proud of him but this is not good, I've got some work to do to stay ahead of him. Soon, I guess, I will have work to do to stay UP with him, then it will be work to do to stay within reach of him, then I'll just cut his allowance every time he beats me! That'll show him.

Thanks for listening 

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Facing demons and chasing immortality

20 miles on the OKC marathon course this morning. 

I was still feeling bad last night when I put out my running gear. I told myself that if I woke up feeling sick I would skip the run and stay in bed. Hah, that's a way too easy way out! Fortunately I sleep pretty good and woke up feeling OK. I got my stuff together and headed for the start. 

The start line for the marathong is in front of the OKC bombing memorial. If you haven't seen it you should at least check it out online. It is really beautiful with a reflecting pool and 168 chairs to remember the victims of the bombing. It is really a very dignifying monument and a solemn place. I have, unfortunately, never been inside the museum. It's not because I don't want too or haven't had the time either. Every since I had my first son, I am emotionally unable to deal with children suffering. 19 children were killed in the bombing, 10 children were orphaned, 219 children lost at least one parent. When we first moved here my family visited the museum and told me of the pictures of the babies who died and the teddy bears that were left on the fence after the bombing. I haven't had the courage to go there since hearing that. Even now it bothers me to think of it. Senseless violence against children, I can't take it, beings out my demons of hatred and anger. I highly recommend you at least check out the website though. It is a great remembrance of what terrorism looks like.

Anyway, at the start, I saw my hero again and we talked a little. Then we started running and she left me in the dust. I settled into a nice 8:40 pace running with my dentist and I felt pretty good. It was interesting to begin running this course again after a year. I kept recalling all the memories of my first 20 miler on this course and how painful and scary it was. I think it was a nice testament to how far I have come from my first marathong. I was so scared and out-of-sorts training for that first event because I didn't know what to expect. 20 miles seemed like a million and I wasn't sure I would make it all the way that first time. I made a ton of rookie mistakes and it really is amazing that I survived all the stupid things I did to myself. But I learned from it and moved on and that's what's great about being alive. If nothing else, being there and in the moment is a learning experience even if the actual experience is not that great. I have learned much from my failures and I attribute the successes I have had to my failures more than anything else. I am sure there are better ways to learn things and improve but not for Willie. One of my inner demons forces me to learn through experience, GO FOR IT, GIVE IT A TRY, figure it out later has been my overriding philosophy during my circles of the sun and it has worked well for me in my career and in my running. Many a person has given me the condescending look when I declare I'm going to try something new and I have learned to disregard those people. "Study up on it first", "You're not ready for that", "You have a long way to go before you can do THAT!", I've heard them all. But I must be true to myself. I know myself better than anyone else and I know how my head ticks. I'm not a crazy-go-all-out type, I consider myself somewhat disciplined, but I will never back down from a goal or challenge, and I will never delay an effort just because of the fear of the unknown. No one remembers the person who took the sensible choice and didn't try something that scared them or was daunting. Everyone remembers the person who took a chance, failed, and eventually prevailed! Those are my heros, those are the ones that make lasting impressions. Chasing immortality may be a little over-the-top but in my soul I think that's what I'm doing.

So I was recalling all the events of previous runs and the OKC marathon course when I came upon mile 24 (mile 18 for today's run). This is the turn where last year Willie's right knee decided the marathon was over and it was time to stop working. I ran through the 90 degree turn to the left where I went down in pain only a year ago. I felt those same emotions today that I did back then. I ran past the curb where I sat in tears holding my knee and wondering how I was unable to run the last 2 miles of my first marathong. I ran past the tree-lined street where I summoned up the courage to walk again and remembered how much it hurt and how I tried so hard to put the pain out of my mind. I remember the spot where I took my first running stride in tears of shear determination and anger. I ran that last mile and a half damn it, my kids were not going to see their father walking across the finish line or worse, not finish at all. By God I was going to finish this race and get that damn medal. I remembered turning my right foot out as I ran/limped around the corner where the Caribbean resturant was handing out lei's and playing Jimmy Buffet. Then I ran past the glorious turn onto Broadway where the streets were lined with cheering people and I could see the finish. Today I jogged this last half mile but a year ago I sprinted with all I had, bawling like a child, down that street and across the finish line of my first marathong. Today I finished to a cup of water and 10-12 fellow runners. A year ago I finished with my son and my mom was waiting for me. Huh.... I guess I beat those demons too....

Ran 20 miles today in 2:51:59. This is a little faster than last year but not much. Just coming off a cold and forget my Gel packs so I think I could have done better. It's OK, I'm just happy I did it.

No pictures yet, maybe later today I'll have some ready to post. 

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Paula and Running

"She was a unique constellation of attributes; she was my Halley's comet. But the universe is designed to break your heart, right?"

I didn't wake up this morning. OK so I did eventually wake up but it wasn't a normal morning for me. I love mornings, I really do. They are my absolute favorite time of day. To say I'm a morning person is an understatement. This morning, however, I knew something was wrong so I called in sick to work and stayed in bed most of the day. SO NOT ME! I wasn't really sick but I just didn't feel right. I don't know what inner demon I am fighting but today they won and I don't like it.

Being home did give me the chance to catch up on my reading however. If I haven't mentioned it before I'm a big fan of (read in love with) Paula Radcliffe. I bought her book a few weeks ago and have not had much of chance to sit and read it like I wanted to. Today I read all about her younger years of running and growing up in England. I always wonder about autobiographies because they are told through the eyes of the person who lived it and sometimes I wonder if their description of events would be the same if they were told through someone else's eyes. If what I read is truly how things were she was really an amazing runner her entire life. She writes of running in a way that makes it sound easy. Rarely does she ever mention how hard it is, how much time it takes, how it can make your body hurt so much. She speaks of it's beauty and grace, of it's life changing effects and it's ability to heal our minds when we are stressed or worried.

I guess I like hearing about the positive aspects more than the negative. Don't get me wrong, I gripe about running as much as the next person and you've heard a lot of those gripes here, but maybe that's because I take the positives for granted. It is obvious that we runners find running more beneficial than harmful, otherwise we wouldn't keep doing it! And when we are around other runners it's almost not worth discussing the joys of running because we all know and have experienced them. So maybe that's why it's so easy to discuss injuries, or sickness, or tiredness or whatever else ails us harriers.

I know that is the reason I started reading blogs. I loved hearing about other's experiences with running and how much they enjoyed the running itself and the things that running brought into their lives. I would never have become a fan of California sunsets if I hadn't started reading blogs. I would never have known how irritating vineyards can become after 22 miles if I hadn't been reading blogs. I may never have known the trials of training for an Olympic distance triathlon if I hadn't started blogging. There are a million other things that I owe to you guys that I probably will never thank you for so take this as a blanket thank you for everything. It's funny how one aspect of our lives can bring us together and make us all friends without ever meeting or talking (OK so maybe I've met and talking with one of you). I think it's those positive aspects of running that we all silently share that provide that unseen bond across the miles between us.

Reading a book like Paula's I am reminded of these things. So keep the experiences coming and don't worry about complaining or griping. I understand where you're coming from and where you're going.

P.S. I still don't like her husband.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thunderstorms, Power Outages, Fire alarms, etc...

I'm still not feeling great. My head is still stuffed up and I'm not sleeping well. I haven't run since Saturday and I'm feeling fat, slow, and lazy. I absolutely hate missing my weekend long runs. They are my weekly devotional to all that is Willie and I just don't feel like myself when I miss them.

Just to make my sickness a little more unbearable, the Oklahoma weather Gods decided to send us some pretty fierce thunderstorms last night. I usually sleep very well when it rains, I love the pitter-patter of rain on the roof. It reminds me of growing up on my grandpa's farm and his tin roof. Last night, however, I mistakenly took the non-drowsy decongestant before bed so I was awake most of the night listening to the damn pitter-patter for hours! You know how you get when you want to sleep but can't. Then you get pissed off that you're not sleeping which only makes it worse. Then you just get totally frustrated and turn on some worthless late-night TV. Who the hell buys the damn Ronko food processor at 3 in the morning! AHH!

So I go to work this morning a little on the down side already and wouldn't you know it, I'm there less than an hour and the power goes out in our building. So everything is pitch-black and quiet, except, oh, what's this... The damn elevator music they pipe into our building as background noise must be on a backup system. We loose all the important computer systems and lighting, but Zamphir and his damn pan flute are still coming through loud and clear. I guess we have our priorities in order.

So about the time I am going to send everyone home since we can't do anything in a dark building, the power comes back on. Thanks a lot. So I get back to work and start working a problem for a few hours and then the fire alarm goes off. Of course it took me a minute to figure out if it was the fire alarm or the tornado warning (big difference in how I would respond). Once I decided it was the fire alarm I remembered that IT'S F$%^ING STORMING OUTSIDE! Great, almost wish it was a tornado, at least I could stay inside. I ventured out into the rain where I stayed for awhile contemplating why I didn't become a lawyer and work in a nice office in California.

Finally got back in the building and back to work. I was on the verge of solving a problem but needed some help from out New York office. I got a software engineer on the phone and we were walking through the problem when, guess what, they lost power in New York! Her computer and office went dead while I was on the phone with her. Something in the air today I guess.
Came home not feeling great. I had been taking decongestant all day and I was really worn out but I really needed to run. I was supposed to do 8 miles tonight but it was still raining and cold and I didn't want to chance it outside (you would have loved it Southbay girl!) so I went to the gym. I ran for about 20 minutes on the indoor track and then did Pilates.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sleep and Coffee

A poem I call "Lazy Butt"

Here I sit with coffee in hand.

Looking out the backdoor as the sun comes on the land.

Should be running, should be sweating.

God knows the miles that I should be getting.

Instead I'm here, in my pajamas, Head stuffed up and nose all runny.

Wondering how to write something funny to explain why I am such a wimp.

Bed so warm, air so cold.

Couldn't get my lazy butt out of the folds.

So I didn't run this morning. Blahh! I won't say I'm stick because that will get me in trouble with those who truly are sick but I am not feeling like my normal self. Today would have been 14 miles on the north part of the OKC marathon course. I didn't want to miss it but when I'm not feeling it, I'm just not feeling it. Next week is the 20 miler on the course so I want to be ready for that. That stupid countdown clock to the left is still moving. Reminding me that I only have a few days of training left until the marathon. Maybe I'll turn the computer off so I don't have to see it.
The coffee is great and my house is still warm. Next to running, this is a pretty good way to spend a Sunday morning.
Do you guys suffer from bad typing habits? I do. There are some words that I always type the same way and cannot seem to break the habit. OK here's one that is fitting and very funny (at least for me). I always type "marathon" as "marathong"!! Every time you see that word on my blog know that I had to go back and delete the "g" from every instance. Possibly a Freudian slip? Now you know where my mind is!!!
Thanks for listening

Saturday, March 15, 2008

St. Paddy's Day 8K and a Trophy!!!

Went to bed last night with a stuffed up head and a nose that was red from excessive blowing. Needless to say I didn't wake up feeling 100% today. Oh yea, and the Oklahoma weather Gods thought it would be great to drop the temperature to 45 and push the wind around at about 25 miles/hour. It was freaking COLD! AGAIN!

Me looking stupid in the cold, cool trophy though

I sat in my car for as long as I could before the race because, as you can see, I decided to wear shorts. When I did get out and began to warm up (Hah!) my leg reminded me that it was hurt, cold and basically pissed off that I had drug it out of bed on a morning like this. I begged and pleaded with it to just let me get through this race and I would give it a nice warm massage and shower after. It agreed and stopped yelling after a few short runs. I lined up beside my hero of running which is nice because she is usually way up front and I don't get to see her much. Her boyfriend asked me what I was hoping to run today and I responded "5 miles, that's what I'm hoping to run, nothing more, nothing less". He was looking for a time but given my sad state of health I didn't dare project a time. I just wanted that damn gun to go off because I was cold and needed to get running in order to warm up. Finally the race started and I took off at a nice clip. Amazingly my leg didn't hurt at all and I was running a 7 minute/mile pace and running easy.

The race started directly into the wind and continued that way for the first mile. Luckily there were enough people around that I was able to draft off the crowd and didn't feel the wind too much. We turned around at mile 1 and ran with a tailwind for the next 2 miles. Right after the turn around I actually caught my hero and passed her. She recognized me and said hello as I passed. I asked her if she was taking it easy today and of course she said yes. I didn't care though, I was running easy and fast and was now ahead of someone that I had run behind so much I was beginning to worry that I could only recognize her from that perspective. " I think I know you, but could you turn around, Oh yes, I know you!"

According to Garmin, I ran the next 2 miles in 6:50 each. Thank you tailwind! The only problem was that my car key fell out of my pocket at mile 2 and I had to stop and go back for it. It didn't take a lot of time but it was embarrassing. Stupid car key, I bought these new shorts yesterday and I love them but the pockets are in the back and there is only one tiny little piece of Velcro (not the dog) to hold the pocket closed. My little car key was able to work it's way out. I'll have to fix that for next time.

Since this was a St. Paddy's day race there were many people dressed up like leprechauns. At mile 3 I caught some college kids who were decked out in costume. One even had a pillow shoved up under his green vest in order to make him look fat. Did I mention I had to catch these two? Yes, they were running faster than me while dressed in a silly costume. They pissed me off! So I caught them right at the 2nd turnaround where we went back into the wind. I was feeling good so I blew by them (take that punks!). Oops, now there was no one to draft with while running head on into the fu#$ing Oklahoma tornadic winds. So they caught me again and past me at the 4 mile mark. I watched them as they played around, talked, slowed up to wait on a pretty girl and generally did everything they could to make me look and feel stupid for struggling to run as fast as they were. Youth sucks! They had probably stayed out all night partying before the run also.

I fought this wind all the way to the finish. Garmin was telling me I was running GREAT but it didn't sink in until I saw the finishing clock and it was still under 35 minutes! Holy crap! I could break 35 minutes for 5 miles! I kicked myself in what was left of my ass and tried to sprint to the finish. The bastards were getting their pictures taken while I was struggling with the clock. I made it in at 35:10. Can't say I'm disappointed with that but man it would be nice to break 35.

When I checked the finished sheets I saw that I place 3rd in my age group! Yea for me! But oh crap! I have to wait around for my trophy and it's still FREAKING COLD! (no I didn't even bring a coat or pants to wear after the race, get off my back, I'm a guy, planning ahead is not my strong point) I walked as much as I could stand to stretch and loosen up. Then I ran to the car and cranked the heat. I stayed until I saw the king leprechaun begin speaking into the microphone and then pushed my way into the large group in order to get out of the wind. BONUS: They had green beer and pizza. Screw the cold, green beer is good anytime! I got my trophy to thunderous applause (OK so maybe one person sympathy clapped), gave a short acceptance speech were I thanked all the little people I stepped on to get to this achievement and then went back for more beer.

This was the last race of the March Triple Crown series which I was registered for and they decided to give out the awards for this now. I guess they couldn't wait until it was warmer. It's OK, more beer and the cold wasn't as bad. I had no idea if I would place but I had 2 third place finishes in the 3 races so I thought I might have a chance. Well it turns out they only gave awards to the first place finisher in each age group. The trophies were really cool gold cups mounted atop large wooden bases. I really wanted one but didn't win. Darn, I will have to see how I did in my age group when they post the results online because as soon as I realized I didn't win, I made a bee-line for the car and the heater.

14 miles tomorrow on the OKC marathon course with the Landrunners. Should be fun but I hope the temperature goes up and the wind goes down. Not likely but I'll make an offering to the Oklahoma weather Gods, maybe sacrifice a child or something, and who knows.

On a totally different note, I took my baby out for a spin yesterday. I haven't mentioned much about my love because it's been cold and she's been stuck in the garage for many months. She was covered in dust and was still dirty from the last time I took her out in the fall so I knew she would be upset with me. Yesterday as beautiful, 70 degrees and no wind. I pushed her out of the garage and sprayed her down and washed her gently. I spent extra time on her chrome and windshield 'cause I know she likes it when I treat her special. After her bath, I dried her with a cloth and lovingly massaged her leather. By then she was putty in my hand and we were back to being a hot couple. The fire was rekindled and our flame was burning bright. I fired her up and rode her across town to pick up my race packet. She was purring like a kitten and smooth as silk. Oh I can't wait for summer.

Thanks for listening

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Late nights and sickness

I think there is a bug going around the country. Everyone seems to be sick. I have been out of town since yesterday and last night I developed a head cold that kept me up all night. This was complicated by the fact that I met up with some old friends and a bottle of whiskey. For some reason I always find it necessary to remind myself that I'm not young anymore when alcohol is around. So I had a head cold and a mild hangover today while I sat through some really long meetings. I made it through but my running suffered. I was due for 10 miles today but didn't make it. I was really hoping to get some pictures from this area but I have let you all down. Not only did I not run, I ate like a PIG! BBQ last night and steak tonight! I'll call this my protein week and maybe I'll survive the guilt.

Did you notice that my next marathon is 45 days away? Yea, look to the left and notice that I only have a few weeks of training left before I run another 26.2. Am I ready? Well I sure don't feel like it tonight.

Flying home early tomorrow so maybe I can get that 10 miler in after work. I've got the St. Patty's day run on Saturday which is the last jewel in the March triple crown. It's only 5 miles and then I've got the Landrunners training run on Sunday. Maybe that will get me back on track.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Apology

Let me say that I am sorry for posting the link to the awesome video of a runner from the BIG10 falling down and still winning a race. I now realize that this may have caused fits of jealous rage such that you may have been tempted to post comments regarding some other, lower conference just to keep your self esteem in balance. I realize that not all of you are lucky enough to be Ohio State Buckeye fans and that I should take pity on those of you who's football teams only managed a 10-4 record (if you can call it that) last year. I really didn't realize how this one little video could elicit so much rage, but then again my team has always been good so I am not used to being jealous of others or an underdog. To those of you who may not understand what I am talking about let me give you a warning. There is a virus out there on this blog network. It is disguised as a beautiful young lady neatly packaged under a cute pink Tennessee Volunteer's hat. It will be nice enough at first, but BEWARE! Mention any other conference other than the SEC (Southeastern Conference, how original! Hey let's just use our geographic location as a name that'll be cool!) and it will infect your blog with nasty comments to remind you of this other, lower conference.

Is it too early for college football smack talk??


B.T.W. Ran 9 miles tonight and everything below my waist hurt! Felt like I was wearing cement blocks for shoes. I never really loosened up the whole run. I suppose I am still sore from the race on Saturday. I am travelling tomorrow and will run from a hotel on Thursday. Hope I feel better by then.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Beacon on the Bay 25K

I was very tired yesterday after work and had some commitments to keep so I was up until about 11 P.M. (really late for my hard-partying life!). I knew I had the race this morning and was worried that I had blown it. I woke up still not feeling 100% so I just figured I would use this race as my weekly long run and take it easy. Oh and did I mention that it was still FREAKING COLD here! I checked the weather last night and it forecast 35-40 degrees for 9 AM which was the race start time so I put out my favorite running shorts and a long sleeve shirt. Well when Willie got up this morning at 7 it was f*$&ing 14 degrees! I had to find running tights (sorry for the visual of Willie in tights) and my running pants. Then I had to decide what to do about a top. Since the race was a 25K I didn't want to wear my extremely warm Brooks running jacket because I knew I would be roasting by half way. I ended up wear two long sleeve running shirts instead. I really hate running in pants since I only have a pair from my high school days and they look shabby. I refuse to running in just tights because it shows off a little too much of little Willie if you know what I mean. I know some guys can do that but not me. I really want to find some nice sort-a tight running pants, I have seen them on people at races I just can't seem to find them in the stores.

The race was moved from it's normal location at Lake Hefner (wonderful wonderful wonderful running track around a lake) to Lake Draper which I had never been to. Turns out that was a blessing since the winds were really kicking at Hefner and Draper had no wind to speak of. Did I mention it was FREAKIN COLD! Thank God for no wind or else Willie may have kept is arse at home.

I only saw 1 friend from the running club before the start. I won't mention her name here but she is a really great runner. She has done a number of marathons and I think her best is a 3:15. She doesn't know it but she has been my running hero for some time. She was there with her boyfriend who also runs and is a great guy. I have run with him before on some of our training runs. I can't keep up with her.

I started the race like I wanted, at a nice easy pace. The course had some rolling hills and started on a slight uphill. I settled into a nice 8:10 pace for the first couple miles and met someone I had always seen but never spoken too. We had a nice conversation and he is really a nice guy. I went through mile 3 at 24:08 so I must have picked up the pace somewhere along the way. I felt great and was running upright with great form (thank you Pilates). We ran across a dam for mile 4 and it was really pretty. I caught a picture for you.
I made it through the next miles running right at 8 minute pace. This was an out and back course so we started seeing some of the leaders coming back at us. They were flying! Mostly college kids but man were they good. There was a pack of 3 at the front with 1 more trailing not far behind. I wish I could have seen the finish, I bet it was exciting.
Once I hit the half way point at about mile 8 I decided to kick it in alittle. My Garmin shows the following mile times:
mile 6 - 8:00
mile 7 - 7:45
mile 8 - 7:40
mile 9 - 7:34
At about mile 9 I noticed a female ahead of me that I knew from the running club training runs. I had never met her but she was really cute so I decided to try and catch her. It was harder than I thought, she was really fast. I did catch her at about mile 13 and she was very talkative for someone that was running that fast. I, on the other hand, had just spent the last 4 miles trying to catch her and was really beginning to wear down. Needless to say I was not suave'. Oh well, impressing women has never been my strong point. She didn't hit me and call me a bastard so I count that as a successful first impression. Anyhoo, I was coming down to the end of the race and was tired but really keeping good form and maintaining pace. I was getting excited, this is the longest I have ever run at a good pace. I was really beginning to think I can do this running stuff! My splits for the next miles were:
mile 10 - 7:34
mile 11 - 7:36
mile 12 - 7:33
mile 13 - 7:35
mile 14 - 7:39
mile 15 - 7:32
I finished in 2:01:29!!!!! Holy crap, almost under 2 hours for 15.5 miles. I have run a half marathon in 1:40 but have never run anything longer than that at anything close to that pace. I was so happy! A day that I thought was lost turned out to be pretty cool. My leg didn't hurt at all but I did take some pain killers before the race. I PROMISE to cut down on them this week though.
Thanks for listening

Thursday, March 6, 2008

41 Degrees of Freedom

What would possess a man to run in shorts when it's 41 degrees outside? If you come up with something let me know because I am totally at a loss. It's freak'in cold! I did a 7 mile tempo run tonight plus a 1 mile warm-up (yea right!) and was supposed to do a 1 mile cool-down after. I made it through the 7 mile tempo run and said "screw this" and headed straight for a hot shower where I stayed for 20 minutes trying to get feeling back into my snowman-like body. I know you purists out there are saying "Not a hot shower after a run, that's the worst thing you can do", Oh yea, after all the crazy things I've done to (and put into) this body over the years I don't think this will make a dent. Plus, did I mention It's FREAKING COLD! Icing my leg after this run seems pointless.

The Panera Beacon on the Bay 25K is Saturday so I will be taking tomorrow off and then using the race as my long run. I usually do my long runs on Sunday because it works out better with my schedule. I have never enjoyed getting up early on Sunday though so it will be nice to be able to sleep in and enjoy a relaxing Sunday morning this weekend. I have always had a soft spot for Sundays. That is not to say I like them, I just find them interesting. They are both a beginning and an end and I never know if I'll be depressed or excited on any given Sunday.

I have a minor confession to make. I've been taking Ibuprofen daily. I started taking it to help reduce the swelling in my leg. Lately I have been taking 400 mg before each run and I haven't been having too much pain in my leg during the runs. I have never taken pain medicine routinely before and was honestly feeling a little concerned that I might be masking the injury in my leg with the drugs. Well yesterday I was listening to the latest edition of Phedipidations, a podcast I love, and Steve Runner, the host, mentioned that he doesn't like to take pain medicine before training runs because he wants to be able to feel any pain that might be developing so he can deal with it before it becomes a problem. This was not the main theme of the podcast, he just off-handed mentioned this and he specifically mentioned Ibuprofen then went on with the podcast about online training logs. Well, Willie being Willie, I was stopped in my tracks by this. I always try to find meaning in little things that happen so I immediately wondered why he would happen to mention something about pain medicine during a podcast about online training logs? And why would this happen when I'm having my own concerns about taking pain medicine. Of course this was a way for the running Gods to speak to Willie and let him know they are not happy with his new found drug taking. This 10 second comment by someone I have never met, was a way of awakening my subconscious and telling me that I am pushing too hard. Am I crazy? Yes, but tonight I didn't take any pills and I felt some significant pain in my leg. I just didn't feel as comfortable as I have the last few runs when I was taking the pills. So now I am totally confused about how to proceed. I'm running great but it may be the pills, I have to know the truth. We'll see how this weekend goes. I think I would rather slow down my training and deal with the pain than to continue running on pills and end up really hurt down the road.
Thanks for listening

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Damn I feel good!

I'm having one of those weeks where everything is going right. I had a great weekend of running, then RBR has a GREAT marathon breaking 3 goals in one day, then Southbay girl says she is going back to work! Tonight I ran 10 miles in 1:22. I was a little tight at first but after mile 5 I really loosened up and felt GREAT. I ran the last 2 miles in under 8 min/mile. Hell, I remember when this shit was hard!?!? Things are going way to good right now they almost scare me. My old self would be sitting around waiting for the fall. My new self says, "I'm gonna ride this high until it bucks me and enjoy the hell out of it!" Funny how we change over the years.

One of my good friends ran 3:38 in the Little Rock marathon over the weekend. This is the guy that ran OKC with me last year where he ran a 3:56. Little Rock is waaayyy more hilly than OKC so this is a real improvement. I'm tell ya, somethings in the air, we are all on a high (or we're all just high!) and things are great. I may go buy a lottery ticket!!

One of my favorite singers is George Strait and I had him on tonight during my run. There's something about one of his songs that really gets me every time I hear it. I can still make Cheyenne is just a great song for a guy like me.

She said, don't bother comin' home
By time you get here I'll be long gone
There's somebody new and he sure ain't no marathon man
He said, I'm sorry it's come down to this
There's so much about you that I'm gonna miss
But it's alright baby If I hurry I can still make Cheyenne
Gotta go now baby If I hurry I can still make Cheyenne
I think the thing I like is that this guy loves the girl deeply but has something else that is pulling him. I love romance and I love being involved with someone but I will always love running more. I know many people (mostly women, sorry girls!) who get so caught up in someone else that they let that person ruin their life. Life is so much more than just a relationship! I think it's so sad that people don't have other interests. I used to be that way and I'm so glad I found running and other things that I love. I want my kids to learn this attitude much quicker than I did. I don't want them obsessing over a girl. What a waste of your younger years! When I look back at what I missed because I was caught up with some girl I just want to puke! I could have done so much more!

I think this song says it best, "You're leaving? Well, I'll miss you but, OK, I've got other things to do!". It's that cowboy attitude of never letting anything get to you that much. I like to think that I'd have made a good cowboy.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The hills are alive with the sound of.. footsteps??

Today was 12 miles on the Edmond hills. Although some of you (myself included) don't believe there are any hills in Oklahoma, there are some areas that are rolling areas of non-flatness. Even pancakes have bumps. So I ran with the OKC Landrunners this morning which I absolutely love. So many personalities and characters that I always find someone interesting to run with. Today I ran with my dentist who is training for his first marathon. He is doing great and seems to really enjoy running although he says he is only doing 1 marathon and that's it. Yea, right, I think I said that also. He'll get hooked just like the rest of us. At one point a young woman caught up to us and we discovered that she was a dental hygienist. So I was running between a dentist and a dental hygienist. I was afraid to smile, I didn't want them to see my teeth. I also expected them to say, "OK spit" all the time. Actually they were quite pleasant and we had a great time. The wind was out of the South again blowing about 12 miles/hr. We ran North for 6 and then back into the wind for the last 6. Wind SUCKS! I past a couple people who said they felt like they were moving their arms and legs but didn't think they were going anywhere! The wind really does sweep down the plains in OoooooKlahomaaaa!

Took some pictures of everybody running with my cell phone. Unfortunately many are blurry because I was running also. I am becoming the unofficial photographer of these training runs but I seem to suck at it. Last time I couldn't get the lighting right and my pictures were blurry, this time I was running so my pictures are blurry. Can you get fired from an unofficial job? If so I'm in trouble.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, March 1, 2008

See Willie get a medal!

Deer Creek Classic 10K this morning was awesome! The weather was perfect except for the wind which was out the south at 12 miles/hour. My son and I had a great time and I got 3rd place in my age division!!!! Yea! I couldn't believe it, I was impressed. I'm not going to say what my age division is because that's none of you business, but let's just say it's not too old and not too young but somewhere in the middle. I felt good the entire race, taking it easy for the first mile and picking it up after that. The course was flat (duh! it's Oklahoma) and fast. There was one part at about mile 4 that was on gravel. It was also somewhat uphill and directly into the wind so it was a challenge. I passed a couple people at that point and they looked really beat. By my watch I ran 45:19 which sucks because I wanted to break 45. I will have to wait for the chip time to see how I really did but all in all I'm so happy! Not because I got a medal but because I had a good time and felt good. I love running and it's nice when running loves you back.

Tomorrow it's 12 miles on the hills here in Edmond. I plan to take it easy and enjoy running with the Landrunners.
After the race my son and I had some fun with the camera. It's a good day, yea, a really good day.
Go RBR, dominate Napa!