Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy Willie

Still on cloud nine over my marathon time!

Just wanted to check in and say thanks again for all the nice comments. I'm enjoying my time off and resting.

I am adding pictures to the slideshow everyday so keep checking if you really want to see my ugly mug slugging it out in OKC.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Willie Ran

Holy crap did Willie run! Willie ran faster than Willie ever thought he could.

781 252 29/179 218/1237 3:39:20 8:23 3:40:10 52:49 1:19:49 1:52:11 2:21:02 2:50:14

I'm just as surprised as you.

Race Report:
It was raining when we arrived at the start line, Southbay girl would have love it. I did not like it at all. I had brought a long sleeved shirt to wear and throw away during the race but it wasn't enough, I was shivering by the time the race started. I met up with my running clan and we wedged our way into the starting corral. I noticed that the pace group balloons were only about 10-20 feet apart! What the crap? I expected them to be somewhat separated. How is a person supposed to get in a pace group when there is only about 100 sq. ft of area around the balloon. I don't know why they did it that way but it all worked out. Once we were in the corral I at least got warm due to the crowds. We had the 168 seconds of silence to remember the victims of the bombing, the national anthem and then the start. It only took me about 30 seconds to get to the start line but I lost the pace group and some of my group. No matter, I had 26 miles to find them again!

The rain stopped at about mile three and I shed the long sleeved shirt. I was running comfortably and rejoined the 3:50 pace group. Once I was in the pack and running smoothly I made the comment to my buddy that it was time to go to sleep until the half way point. It's funny but so true. The first few miles of the marathon really are about getting warmed up. Then you just really want to run a good comfortable pace and get some miles behind you. So that's what we did. We ran by the capital which is my favorite part of the course, minus the finish line. Then we headed into the park section of the course where we ran through a couple really nice parks and had great crowd support. I swore off water and Powerade until about mile 8 and I think it worked out for me. I was still running comfortable and was wanting to push the pace but was hesitant to go too early. That was very hard since self control is not something I'm known for but I did it until the half way point. I was averaging 8:30 miles and still running with the 3:50 pace group at that point. There was a North wind so we were running into the wind for the first half and I think the pack really help me get through the wind.

At the half way point I wanted to go. I was still a little afraid of pushing too hard too early though. Then I was past by the father of one of my son's best friends. He is really nice and I knew he ran but I didn't know how fast he ran. Well my son's honor was one the line so I HAD to go with him! I didn't want my son to get teased at school with the old "My Dad's faster than your dad" line so I went with him. This got my pace down to the 8:teen's which was also pretty comfortable and worked well through the Lake Hefner portion of the course. The wind really kicks over there since there is nothing to block it BUT today it was out of the North and Hefner is where we turn SOUTH! Yea, tailwind. I was almost blown over. My pace hit the sub 8's through the park and this really bothered me. I slowed up some and was loosing my son's friend's dad but it was way too early to be running sub 8's. So sorry son, your dad just couldn't hang today. I hoped this guy would pay for his fast pace later (he didn't).

Coming out of Lake Hefner I started to tire. My left quad was cramping and my pace was feeling really hard. Mile 16 meant another EGel though and by mile 17 I was feeling good again.

Sidebar: EGel's ROCK! This was the first race where I could really see the benefits of carrying these little globs of wonderful, energy filled glory! God bless you Mr. EGel where ever you are.

Coming out of mile 17 there was a Starbucks. UGH! Everyone in the crowd had one in their hand. I almost tackled someone. I wanted a Cafe Americano soooo bad. It smelled soooo good. I pushed on though. At this point I passed one of my buddies from work. He is NOT a runner but more of a beer drinker which is probably why we are friends. He had been talked into running a leg of the relay. He had his Ipod on and when he saw me he shouted "WILLIE!". He's loud and obnoxious anyway (another reason we get along) but with plugs in his ears he was even louder. He shouted at me for a long time and it was really cool to hear.

My family met me at mile 20 and I was able to get rid of my gloves. I LOVE running with gloves when it's cold but today I took the wool cheapo gloves so I could throw them away if needed. These gloves give negative returns when they get wet and my hands actually get colder with them on. My hands were really cold by mile 20 and the gloves were soaked. When I took them off and gave them so my son my hands instantly got warmer. I was running really strong at that point. 10K to go.

I was still running 8:teen's to 8:30's at that point. I was feeling so good that I wanted to go. I won't tell you the exact words that went through my head but it something along the lines of "Screw-it let's go for it and see what this old body can really do" and I kicked it in. Amazingly it made my legs feel better to stride out a little. I was running tall and strong and passing people left and right when I turned onto the dreaded Claussen Ave. But Willie was in true Willie form and had that wild-eyed crazy look in his eyes so he thought, " Screw Claussen, bring it on, I'm gonna run my fastest miles on this GD road!". Normally this attitude gets me in more trouble in life than I care to report but in a marathon it works great. I ran mile 21 in 7:58.

By the time I awoke from my demon-possessed trance I had run mile 22 in 8:05, mile 23 in 8:02. Heck yes! Wow was all I could think.

Mile 24 holds some sentimental value for me since it is where my knee quit on me a year ago. Add that to my already rebel-without-a-care attitude and I was pretty emotional going through that area of the course. Mile 24 8:04 and a lot of demons overcome. I beat this course, Take that!

Coming to the end of the marathon I caught a good friend who had made it to the starting line late and spent the whole race trying to catch up to his normal pace group. He is a really good runner and I could tell he was hurting. When I caught him he said he had just gone out too fast trying to catch up and was really suffering for it now. I felt bad for him since he help me so much last year. It was just another reminder of how HARD this marathoning thing is and a reminder to me to ENJOY THE RIDE WHEN THINGS GO RIGHT! So I did. Mile 25 7:46 Giddy-Up!

Came out of the last few turns and onto glorious, wonderful, brilliant, Broadway which is a straight 6 blocks to the finish. You can see it from the last turn. Kick it in Willie, have at it! So I did. About halfway down Broadway I surprised my family because they weren't expecting me for another 5-10 minutes. It was a good surprise. My eldest jumped on the course and ran with me again just like he did 1 year ago. I sprinted across the finish and threw my hands in the air. 3:39:20! Holy crap how did I do that! I was expecting a 3:55 and thought I would be extremely happy with a 3:45. So what do I do with a 3:39:20? Who cares, I'm happy and I still feel good. A quick inventory of the old body found nothing hurt and I was actually able to cool-down a little. It felt wrong to feel this good but again, ENJOY THE RIDE.

Thank you for all the support. I owe much of this race to Southbay Girl, RBR and Meredith Calyx. This blog has let me vent and you gals actually read it. Not sure what's wrong with all of you but thanks anyway.

Time for Willie to party! Did I mention I met Bill Rogers and Dick Beardsley yesterday? Check out the pics above. I was starstruck and acted like a fool but I don't meet many celeb's and I am a fool so I guess I shouldn't expect anything less. It was really cool.

Thanks for listening,

Friday, April 25, 2008

Deeper Thoughts by Willie

Part 2, why I (we) run

There are too many reasons for why I run to list them here. But as I think about them they all seem to fall into some broad categories so I thought I would capture those here.

Sidebar: For some reason I get very emotional in the days leading up to a marathon. I don't know why but I seem to get sentimental and reflective during these days. I think it's because I withdraw into my bubble and block out the outside stresses of life. This means I have nothing to listen to except my own inner thoughts and feelings. Very scary!

Running marathons makes me feel alive and I need to be reminded of that. The ins and outs of life can become very routine after while. A few years ago I realized that I had become a slave to my daily routine. Most of that routine I am very happy to have like my kids and job. Those things I am very thankful for. I realized, however, that where once I would be torn between doing things for me and doing the things that my family and job needed, I had now given up the battle and given myself totally to outside influences. I was no long alive but was just a tool for others. I loved those things but I had a small voice inside my head saying, "Hey you! wake up! There can be a healthy balance between giving and taking in life. FIND IT!". It didn't happen overnight but eventually I took back some of my life and have come closer to finding that balance. I'm not there yet but marathoning is a big step towards that goal.

The List

I wish I could take credit for the practice of assigning miles to things I am thankful for but I can't. I first heard of the practice from Kristin Armstrong who wrote an article about it in Runner's World. Basically you make a list of all the things that you are thankful for and assign miles of your marathon to them. As you run the miles you remember those things and give thanks for them.

I am going to use the 1st half of this years marathon to remember those in my life who are having troubles or are in need of prayers. That list is private because I don't want to violate any one's privacy by writing about their troubles on the Internet. In fact, I haven't even let those people who are on the list know that I will be praying for them. Silent prayers are the best and since God and I haven't been on speaking terms for awhile I need to do everything right if I have any hope of helping the people I want to remember.

The second 13 miles of the marathon will be a celebration of things I am thankful for. This list i want to share. My life has been so blessed that I will never be able to thank everyone who has played a role but I feel the need to try. So here it is, Willie's list for 2008 OKC marathon:

Mile 13 - My family. My kids and wife. Thank you for putting up with me and all my inner demons for so many years.

Mile 14 - My job. I am one of those luck people who has a job that I love. I look forward to going to work each day and I really enjoy the people I work with. I realize how rare this is and how lucky I am.

Mile 15 - OKC Landrunners Running Club for giving me inspiration and friends to help me along the way.

Mile 16 - My Mother for being a true saint. Wish you were here this year.

Mile 17 - My Father for being the one person on earth I think really feels the same way I do.

Mile 18 - My Grandfather who I will always remember and love and who influences my life even today many years after his death.

Mile 19 - Marshall Harrington who was a West Point graduate, Vietnam veteran, heart transplant recipient, and all around great man. He started me on my career and I owe him my success. Also my youngest son's namesake.

Mile 20(Where the race begins) - RBR because she has done this and I'm so proud of her for it. She brings humor and joy into my life (which I'll be needing at this point) and has actually called me her friend. This is still better than the swim in a Tri!!

Mile 21 - Calyx Meredith for being a third of my total blog readership and also a wonderfully inspirational person to me. You have made us all Stronger Than Before we met you.

Mile 22 - Southbay Girl. My first E-friend and my blogging inspiration. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with all of us.

Mile 23 - MSgt Vinnie Miller and the summer of 2005 for putting me back on the running path.

Mile 24 -For living in such a great country that lets me do what I love and live where I want. I am truly lucky to have been born here.

Mile 25 -For the men and women who keep this country free. Especially the airmen of the U.S. Air Force who I still think about daily and spend my career trying to help. May everyone serve with pride, do their duty, and come home soon.

Mile 26 I'll reserve this mile for all those things I have left off this list that will hit me like a lead brick when I start running this last mile. With tears in my eyes I will remember them and wish I had included them here.

Mile .2 - For being able to do this again I am thankful.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Deep thoughts... by Willie

Part 1, Respect the Distance

I attended the Landrunners club meeting on Monday night and heard some wonderful advice from experienced marathoners to first time marathoners. I didn't feel myself worthy to give any advice since I am still learning the tricks of the trade myself. I picked up a few tips that I may try for my next marathon. I say for my next marathon because the A-#1 rule for marathons is don't ever do anything that you haven't done in your training runs. The body is a wonderful thing but it can never be counted on to react the way you think it should. So if you haven't attempted something before during the training, don't try it in the marathon.

After the club meeting I had a nice conversation with Reese and My Hero about marathons and marathoning (not sure that's a word). Reese made a comment that I can't get out of my head. We were talking about how difficult the marathon is and how you can have great training, be totally prepared, and it's still hard to put it all together and run a good marathon. For instance, right now I can easily run a 8:00/mile pace for 15 miles. I know it because I ran just a little bit faster than that in the Beacon on the Bay. Ok, so I can easily predict a 8:30 pace for the marathon right? It's only 11 more miles and I get to run :30 seconds slower so, no problem right? WRONG!!!! The marathon is so long a distance that it takes so many things to go just right in order for the race to go well.

In engineering we like to identify all the risk factors and develop a plan to deal with them. If they can't be engineered out of a solution we at least must identify them and reduce the probability of occurrence or the severity of the impact to a manageable level or we must continue looking for a solution. In the marathon it is almost impossible to even identify all the things that could go wrong, let alone deal with them!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, unlike shorter distances, the predicted outcome of a marathon is not linearly predictable from the training. You can't say, oh I can run a 1:40:00 1/2 marathon so I am sure I can run a 3:20:00 marathon. Yes, theoretically you can! BUT give it a try, Jack, and I bet you'll change your tune. That's not to say that training is not beneficial. It is but, in the marathon, there is no assurance of even finishing, let alone running a predictable time.
I wish I could take credit for the phrase "RESPECT THE DISTANCE" but it was Reese who said it last night and I love it. It seems to embody why I love and hate the marathon so much. 26.2 miles is a long way, many things can go wrong. If you don't respect it you will be bitten and it can hurt. That's why everyone who runs a marathon is to be respected. I'm not sure I understood that until I did one. Being able to say I'm a marathoner is something I'll treasure forever and I hope, if you've done one, you hold your head high and take pride in what you achieved.

Hope this wasn't too preachy, if it was it was more for myself than for anyone else.

Did you catch the women's Olympic marathon trials? What a race, I was so excited when Deena was catching Magdalena. What a difference in strategies and it seemed to work for both of them. Magdalena didn't win but she ran HER race and it work for her to qualify! I love that. Run your race regardless of what the others were doing. She knew she needed to run sub-2:30 and that's the pace she set out on. That takes guts to leave the pack and trust thyself.

3 easy miles tonight, stretching, Planks, and an ice bath. Still looking for the massage this week.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

1 Week to go

I ran the final training run with the Landrunners this morning. It was another large group which is great to see. I also posted a topic on their forum asking if anyone wanted to continue the training runs after the marathon and got an overwhelming response in the positive. So much for my 6 weeks off!! I really enjoy running with the group so maybe I'll just cut out the weekday runs and substitute biking and swimming but continue with the long runs on the weekends. Yea, that sounds like a plan. Honestly there was no way I was going to make the 6 weeks off anyway. It just isn't in me.

The weather is getting nice here in the heartland and I am getting excited about running in the sun and taking my baby out for some long rides. Monday is supposed to be in the '80s so I'll probably take her to work. Poor neighbors get to be rattled out of their beds at 5 A.M. by the sounds of 1590 cc's of raw American made power.

I absolutely love running in the sun also. I can't wait for shorts with no shirt and lots of good sunshine reflecting off of my blindingly gleaming-white-midwest-German/French skin. Let me just apologize now to all the people at lake Hefner who will be loosing some eyesight in the next few weeks.

Weekly running summary

6 Easy miles on Tuesday in the wind.

7 mile tempo run on Thursday which felt GREAT!

10 easy mile this morning around Lake Hefner (well almost around, there's construction on the dam so we had to cut the loop short. Damn Dam construction.)

Pilates and stretching everyday.
That's it.... Gotta love the taper!

Massage issues

I don't know if I've addressed this here before so if this is a repeat for either of you, my apologies.

I am considering a massage this week to get loosened up and relaxed a couple days before the marathon. That thought brings much stress however. My wife bought me a massage last year after the marathon. It was my first ever massage and it didn't go well. I was excited about the prospects of a massage until I walked into the room. I wasn't prepared to have a young girl as my masseuse. Put another way, I wasn't prepared to have a pretty young girl rub her hands all over me while I was naked. Now do you see the problem! Ok, Ok, I know what your thinking, Willie, what's the problem?? This should be your dream come true. Well, your wrong! Having been married for 15 years it just felt uncomfortable to have my body violated like that. I came away from the experience more tense than I was before I went in.

So this brings me to my problem today. I want a massage because I know it will help but I don't want to go back to that place and I don't know anything about other places. I may have to do some shopping around. Would it be wrong to go into a massage parlor and scope out the employees? I'm not sure I want a man violating me either come to think of it, I think maybe a big German woman named Helga would be Ok. Why can't they invent robots to give massages? I'm I the only one who has this issue?

Maybe I'll just have my sons walk all over me like they do most evenings anyway. My 5 year old does a great job of beating me nightly so maybe that will be enough.

Don't forget about the woman's marathon trials tomorrow. I'm still looking for a TV or web channel that is covering the race live. I hope someone does because it should be a good race.

RBR is running a 1/2 marathon today so send good vibes westward. Southbay girl is herding with my favorite celebrity Velcro so send some good "cattle-dog" ju-ju that way also. Next week is the big weekend for everyone. Hang in there and we'll all get through this together.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Me, in a 6 word nutshell

I was tagged by Calyx Meredith for the 6 word meme.

Sounded interesting, until I started thinking about it.... What to write? How to summarize my life in 6 words? Let's start with the rules:

1) Write your own six word memoir.
2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.
4) Tag at least five more blogs with links.
5) Don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.
6) Have fun.

So here goes, no explanation, just the 6 words I hope will represent me when I'm gone.

Lived deliberately, never afraid to try.

So now for some running news. I ran 6 easy miles on Tuesday which went OK except that it was wiiiinnndddyyyyyy (like the visualization?). The interesting thing was how tired I was the next day. I actually felt a little sore and I'm not sure why. I guess it's a reminder that this pile of carbon based material that I live in can always surprise me. One of those things that makes life interesting.

I got in a 7 mile temp run in tonight before the rain hit and if felt great. I was easily running 7:40 miles. Go figure! I am stretching now and am trying to do more of this as the marathon approaches. Stretching and Pilates are my key to a good run. I'm trying to concentrate on them and not on how little I am actually running during the taper. I struggled with the taper before Disney because I didn't have anything else to do but run and I couldn't do that. So this time I'm trying some replacement therapy. Hopefully it will work better.

I've got a 10 mile easy run with the Landrunners this weekend and a very easy week of running next week before the marathon. I am much more relaxed with 1 week to go than I have been in the past. I hope it's a good Omen and not an over-confident slide to failure.

Thanks for listening

Monday, April 14, 2008


Not much to say today, but I wanted to do my part for American distance running's re-emergence and say...


I think that says it all!

Ryan, if you're out there reading this (yea, right), from an over-the-hill, overweight, marathon-wannabe let me say, WAY TO GO! CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU DOMINATE IN BEIJING!!

Really looking forward to the Women's trials this weekend. Oh yea, and Boston, what a great weekend for marathon motivation! Go Deena!!!!!

Thanks for listening

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The ups and downs of Edmond

10 miles on the Edmond hills this morning. I almost skipped the run this morning because I was extremely comfortable in my bed and I was tired. I eventually drug myself out of the sanctuary and got dressed and made it to the run with only a few minutes to spare. The group was doing 14 miles on the hills but I had to pick my son up this morning so I couldn't spend the extra time on the last 4 miles. I wanted to get this last hill workout in though so I just cut the course short so I could end up back at my truck at the 10 mile point. 

Easy run turns ugly
I settled into a nice pace with my usual training group when I noticed we were running in the second pack right behind the fast group. This is not usually the case. Normally I only see the fast group at the start and then run somewhere in the middle of the group for the entire run. Something was amiss if I was this close to My Hero and the other fast runners. I asked Garmin for my pace and she said I was a bit fast but nothing outrageous. I guess those fast runners decided to take an easy day. Well after 2 miles they started to pick it up and my pack, for some reason, wanted to go with them. I stuck with them and we began running at, what is normally, my Tempo run pace. It is amazing how much harder the hills are when you are running hard! 

The Perfect Partner
I was hesitant at first but I really felt good so I pushed the pace even harder and eventually left my pack and ran with only other guy. I knew he looked familiar but it took me a few minutes to realize that this was the guy I ran with in the Beacon on the Bay 25K a few weeks ago. He was the one that I paced (i.e. tried to keep up with) for about 8 miles and he help me run one of my best races ever. Once I figured this out I mentioned it to him and he remembered also saying, "You were that guy that pushed me through that race". So I guess we both thought the other was pushing us. How funny! I guess every now and then you find that one person who runs just a bit faster than you but not enough that you can't keep up. The perfect training partner! 

I had the race doctor look at my leg again after the run. I have convinced myself it is a stress fracture because it has lasted since December. I explained where all the pain was, when it happens, and what I've done about it. He doesn't believe it is a stress fracture because those usually get worse the longer you run. My pain goes away when I get warmed up, it only hurts in those first few miles. I told him I was going to take 6 weeks off after the marathon just to let it heal. He recommended stretches to get me through and I'm going to schedule an MRI with him sometime soon. I have been trying to ignore this pain for awhile now but it's just so frustrating. I just want it to go away. It isn't stopping me from running but it does keep me from running everyday like I want to. Ibuprofen makes the pain go away but this won't help forever. 6 weeks off after the marathon, 6 weeks off after the marathon, 6 weeks off after the marathon. Just keep saying it, maybe it will seem easier. 

Since I won't be running maybe I'll get back on the bike and in the pool. A Triathlon this summer??? Maybe, we'll see.

Thanks for listening 

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Last speedwork before the beloved TAPER!

Well tonight I did my last speedwork before the OKC marathon in 2 weeks. You know what that means...... It's time to TAPER baby! Yea, no more worrying about the miles, nothing to do but maintain my fitness level and rest my legs. I always look forward to the taper but in reality it will probably kill me mentally. All I have to do is read a few of my blog entries from back when my leg was hurting and I was unable to run and I see that I am not a good non-runner. And a non-runner is what I will feel like in about a week when I haven't run any significant mileage and I'm beginning to think about throwing in those last workouts just before the marathon. It's a mental battle that I hope gets easier as I do more of these 26.2 adventures. Then again, I'm stubborn so it probably will continue to my deathbed.

Tonight I did 4 mile repeats with and 800 meter rest between. My absolute favorite workout! I looked forward to it all day and couldn't wait to get on the track. Unfortunately the Oklahoma weather Gods have been restless lately and some pretty vicious storms have moved through and we are getting the backside winds. The wind must have been 40 mph out of the west while I was doing my miles. It was like running up a steep hill every time I came around the track. But on the backside, Whoa baby I was soaring! So much so that I almost was blown over a couple times. I did all the miles under 7 minutes which is fairly slow but given the winds and the fact that I am still tires from Sunday's totally STUPID brain-fart decision to run 26 miles I felt good about it.  

So I've got a glass of Old Vine Zin in my hand and a new episode of "The Office" just came on. All in all, a good night. 

Countdown to the OKC marathon and the Nashville 1/2 is at 2 weeks. I think I'm more excited about the Plannet Ynnep girls running the 1/2 than I am about my own marathon. Can't wait to hear how they do. 

Thanks for listening

new blogger on see willie run willie #2

Hi I'm willies son i love to run like my dad.  I'm currently on my school track team and I'm pretty good if i do say so myself.  I also want to run cross country.  and when I'm 34 like my dad i want to run a marathon.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

20 + 6.2 == One tired Willie

20 miles on the marathon course
Today was the last 20 mile run on the OKC marathon course with the OKC Landrunners. We started at the memorial again and this time I was ready. I had been feeling down most of the week because work is really stressful right now so I didn't have a good week of running or blogging for that matter. So I was somewhat worried about how I would run at this 20 miler. I remembered my Gel this time and was ready for a good run. The Oklahoma wind was really kicking this morning from the South. This made the first half of the run very fast since it was mostly to the North. At one point I was able to spread my arms out and fly down a hill! It almost seemed too easy! I was easily running 8:00 - 8:30 pace which is well ahead of my targeted marathon pace of 8:40-8:50 but I knew that the second half of the run was all to the South and that I would be paying for this fast pace soon enough. Take advantage of it when you can!

I waited until mile 10 to take my E-Gel and this worked out to be perfect. I hadn't yet tired too much and the Gel worked well for the next few miles. I think it kept my glycogen reserves up just enough to get me through the next few miles.

B.T.W. LOVE these things! They went down great and didn't dyhadrate me. I was able to stay hydrated for the entire 20 miles. This is something I have never accomplished before. I may have a plan now to get me through the marathon. I didn't have some stomach trouble but it started well before I took the first Gel and was probably due to my not running much during the week. I have always had stomach problems on runs that follow long layoffs. I think my stomach gets used to the easy life during these breaks and gets annoyed when I return to running so it throws a temper tantrum. OK so that's one theory, I'm sure there is a more scientific one but I like mine better!

So we turned South onto (The dreaded) Classen Blvd. to begin the run back to the finish and WOW! The Oklahoma wind stood me straight up and almost brought me to a complete stop. It was really blowing. Luckily I was running with two other guys at this point and we made a deal to share the lead and draft off each other. This worked out GREAT, I don't think I would have made it down Classen without their help. We kept a good pace, 8:30-8:40, but we really fought for it. We lost one of the guys along the way but I didn't dare slow down for him for fear of being blown backwards! I have never before been afraid of loosing ground in a marathon until today. I was seriously afraid of going backwards!

We finally made it off Classen for the last 2 miles. I caught a drink at the last water station and kicked it in. I ran the last 2 miles in something like 16:30. Garmin said I did the last mile in 8:06. WOW, I was hurting but still running strong. A good Omen I hope. I finished in 2:46 which doesn't take into account a pit stop along the way but I think I still broke 2:50 which is my fastest 20 mile.

Redbud Classic

While I was waiting to start the 20 miler this morning My Hero was there discussing the fact that she was running both the 20 miler and the Red Bud Classic 10K today at 2 P.M. The Red Bud is a BIG race here in the city and I wanted to do it last year but it fell on the 20 mile training day last year also so I skipped it. WELL, after My Hero mentioned it I got to thinking about it and decided that if I felt good after the 20 miles I would run the Red Bud also. The Red Bud is part of the running club series races so I would get points for completing it and since I am currently winning my age group (Shameless self-promotion) I thought it important to at least make a showing.
So after my good run this morning I went home and took a nap and headed for the Red Bud. It was PACKED! They sold out the race meaning I didn't get a timing chip which really bothered me since I'm not sure my time will count without a chip. Oh well, I'm here I might as well run. I started with the 8:00 mile group and quickly learned how many people were NOT 8:00 milers! Why must people start up front when they know they will get run over within minutes of the gun? I usually don't mind, people have bad days, or get confused about where to start but come on! I was already tired and really didn't want to dodge kids who were struggling to run let alone run an even pace. OK off my soapbox for a second day! I kept my pace just under 8:00 for the first 3 miles drinking HEAVILY at each water stop. I ran a 7:27 for mile 4 and then my body rejected me entirely and decided enough was enough. I managed to keep running but my body was pulling me hard to the curb to sit down and rest. My legs gave me the finger, and my stomach just laughed in blissful insanity. I finished in 47:58 and drug my corpse over to the FREE STARBUCKS tent! That's right, free Starbucks! It was hot so I had iced coffee but it was great. I made sure to chase it with water, and water, and oh yea, water.
So in total I ran a marathon today. Ok so I took a nap between mile 20 and mile 21 but I finished a marathon none the less. I think I did it to punish myself for not training well during the week and I hope I didn't hurt anything. I feel OK now and have iced all parts of my body along with massaging my legs. Tomorrow off, then another attempt at a morning run on Tuesday.
Bed time........
Thanks for listening

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Another hit on the running store crack pipe

Fashion seems to be the hot topic so I thought I would relate some of my own shopping excursions. 

Yes, it's true, I went shopping yesterday! My shrink will say I have regressed but who cares. I needed running gear and I needed it pronto! I was feeling somewhat depressed and actually had some free time (a rare thing this week) so I decided to give into my addiction and put some running gear store owner's kids through college. 

My first goal was to find some black running shorts. On my last 20 miler my outfit didn't exactly match. I had just bought some shorts with a neon-green stripe down the side for St. Paddy's day and wanted to wear them on the long run. I also wanted to wear my new Brooks H-Vac shirt with a zippered pocket so I could carry all my long run needs (Cell phone, Gel (which I forgot), and tissues). So what if the shirt was blue! OK so now I realize that neon green and blue don't exactly go together. Who cares after 20 miles! Actually no one said anything to me but I noticed the problem while looking at the pictures posted on the Landrunner's website a few days later. Not my best fashion day. So I went through my closet and noticed I don't have any plain black running shorts. Black matches everything so I figure I need to stock up on some to make my choices easier. 

I hit The Runner first because that is the store that sponsors all of our weekend long runs. They come out early and put water and food along the course for us. I felt the need to support them since they do so much for us. I found a pair of Adidas short with a nice pocket in the back. They were $38 but I thought I would try them on anyway just to see how they looked. When I go them on in the dressing room I found out they had those tight compression underwear in them. Ohhhh! that felt nice! I had to have them. I also found a cool poster of "Pre" that I picked up to hang in my office. It's from Nike but I have always admired Pre so I got it anyway. 

Next I hit OK Runner. They were having a sidewalk sale and some major discounts on running gear. Most of the discounted items were Small or X-Large so I didn't find any good bargains but I did find something I had been looking for a long time. The Race Ready shorts with the pockets in the back (see the picture below). I had seen these at The Runner but they only had the VERY short model which I don't have the dignity to wear outside a dressing room. Well, OK Runner had the 4" inseam model which fit good and kept my dignity intact so I bought a pair (black or course). 

Support your local running store

I did control myself somewhat in that I didn't hit my main dealer, Elite Feet. I knew that if I went there I would end up looking at shoes and probably mortgaging my children's future on everything they sell. I felt a little guilty about not buying from my friends but I also felt the need to support the other running stores in Edmond. (WARNING Soap box speech follows!) It's not that I don't like the large, chain running stores. I just feel like the little guys need a chance also. Places like The Runner that go out of their way to get involved in local groups are important to me. I would rather pay more for something from them than save a couple bucks by going to a large, discount running store. Elite Feet has donated something to every running club here in the area and the owners are so nice and helpful. How could you not want to support them? A Fleet Feet has opened here in Edmond and I have been in the store and met the owner. He is very nice and helpful but I still feel loyalty to The Runner and Elite Feet. I made a deal with myself that I will only buy things from Fleet Feet that I can't find at the other stores. So far I haven't found anything that falls into that category. This is a bit of a quandary for me. I don't dislike the big guys, I just have a soft spot for underdogs. Enough of that.

Scraping the Gu off my shoes

I have been thinking that part of my problem with hydration may be from the Gu I usually use during marathons. I always knew that Gu had caffeine but I thought that I was drinking enough water to compensate. 

After Disney, though, I have done some research on hydration and even experimented on some long runs. I have always had stomach problems during my runs so I am very careful about what I take in during a long run. Even water can irritate my stomach if I am not careful. I would like to be able to run a marathon without taking any Gel but after some experiments I believe it does help in those last miles. The thing I noticed, however, was that using the Gu gave me energy but I was still getting dehydrated and this negated any benefit from the energy. If I tried to drink more water, my stomach would ache and cause me more problems. So my decision was to stop taking the Gu and make every effort to stay somewhat hydrated hoping my training would make up for the lack of extra energy.

I discovered that I could run very well for 15-16 miles without any Gu and with my normal intake of water. After that my performance suffered. So what am I to do? Taking Gu means more water and more water means stomach trouble. 

I found some Gel at The Runner that is NOT caffeinated. I bought a couple packs and will try them tomorrow. This may be my saving grace so I am really hoping they work well. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

One Proud Papa

My son's first track meet was tonight and WOW he did good. Of course I am a little biased but I get that right for all the crap he puts me through.

He ran the first leg of the 4 x 800 relay and got his team a nice large lead that they kept for the entire race finishing first. His time was 2:35. ONE GOLD MEDAL.

He ran the 800 meters in 2:40, finishing a close second. ONE SILVER MEDAL.

He ran the mile in 6:03, finishing 4th, but it was a great race with the first 4 all finishing very close together. I'm not sure how they sorted it out but he was definitely 4th. A really cool race to watch! No medal for this one

Right after finishing the mile, he had to run the anchor leg of the 4 x 400 meter relay! I was really worried because he looked totally beat after the mile. His team got an early lead and the next two runners on his team kept it. They handed off to my son with about a 200 meter lead. As soon as he took the baton you could see the other teams catching him. I was sooooooooo worried that he would loose the lead for his team. How horrible would that be! So the 2nd and 3rd place runners were coming on strong, the crowd was screaming and yelling, it was VERY exciting. EXCEPT IF IT'S YOUR SON THEY ARE SCREAMING FOR (OR AT)! I was a wreck! I jumped, I screamed, I pointed, I pulled my hair out, I did everything but go out on the track and run for him. The poor kid just looked TIRED! With 150 meters to go, however, my son kicked in the afterburners and TOASTED those others! He dug down deep and found that extra UMMPH and finished with an amazing kick to bring his team home for ANOTHER GOLD MEDAL! 

It was so exciting but I hope it never happens again and I made a point to tell him that after I hugged him! I told him it's OK to win by a mile, really, that's better for everyone!

He ran that last quarter mile in 71 seconds which is not his best but pretty good after having run 2 miles. 

Thanks for listening