Sunday, August 31, 2008

7 miles that should have been 13

Horrible, terrible, pathetic, etc... Need I say more? How am I ever going to quality for Boston with runs like this? 

I started out well under my goal pace. I felt comfortable and didn't seem to be pushing hard. When I got near 3 miles it hit me like a, well a wall. I was soooooo tired, I didn't want to run. I was thirsty, sweating, and hot. I took a break and hit a water fountain. After what seemed like an hour I thought I better try and finish this run and began out across the damn again. I didn't make it a mile before I had to stop again. This time I just lost it mentally. I was running a good pace, feeling OK but my mind slipped for just a second and I stopped. I rested for a bit and started up again only to make it another quarter mile and stop again. This was not going to be my day.

I made it off the damn and to another water fountain. I rested again and then decided to walk it on in. I had given up on a run! I called my wife to come pick me up because I didn't want to walk. Very depressing. I just didn't have it today, I'm not sure I have it at all.

I have plenty of excuses. Want to hear some? I stayed up late watching the Missouri game. I ate junk food for dinner. I drank beer yesterday.

Route:--Elev. Avg:1201 ft
Location:Nichols Hills, OKElev. Gain:-10 ft
Date:08/31/08Up/Downhill: [+101/-111]
Time:09:50 AMDifficulty:3.1 / 5.0
 81 F temp; 76% humidity
 86 F heat index; winds S 13

Distance: 7.69 miles
Speed:7.3 mph
Pace:8' 12 /mi

Posted from

Next up, Tuesday, Speedwork on the track. 2x(3x800 meters) in 2:59. 

Friday, August 29, 2008

Getting comfortable in the 7's

My Boston qualifying training program has begun. Tuesday night I ran my set of 3, 1 mile repeats. The goal was to hit 6:12 each mile. I didn't quite make it as I ran 6:23, 6:34, and 6:39. Even so I feel pretty good about it.

Tonight I was to run an interval workout. 2 miles easy, 2 miles at 6:45 pace, and 2 miles easy. As you can see I almost hit the goal. My 2 hard miles averaged out to 6:53. I am extremely happy with that. These workouts are my first venture into the 7 min/mile and below pace zone so I am happy just to get there. Maybe with some time I'll get comfortable there.

I ran with my Ipod tonight and it REALLY help push me through those hard miles. I'm a child of the '80s so I had Motley Crue and AC/DC rockin' in my head. I posted the Youtube video above so you could enjoy it too. If you don't remember it's from the Dr. Feelgood album which has many great songs for running. Try not to remember the hair and the leather though.

Next up: Sunday, 13 miles at 7:56 pace.

Route:--Elev. Avg:1161 ft
Location:Edmond, OKElev. Gain:+42 ft
Time:05:22 PMDifficulty:2.8 / 5.0
73 F temp; 84% humidity
73 F heat index; winds S 8

Distance:6.00 miles
Speed:7.3 mph
Pace:8' 14 /mi
2 Miles Easy
2 Miles at 6:45 pace
2 Miles Easy
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
19' 02+0' 486.6-0.7+43 ft
28' 29+0' 157.1-0.2-30 ft
36' 57-1' 178.6+1.3-56 ft
47' 07-1' 078.4+1.1-49 ft
510' 11+1' 575.9-1.4+102 ft
69' 28+1' 146.3-1.0+33 ft
end********** ft
Versus average of 8' 14 min/mile
** Insufficient data to calculate this split

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Distance: 1.00 miles
Speed:9.4 mph
Pace:6' 23 /mi
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
end6' 23+0' 009.4-0.00 ft
Versus average of 6' 23 min/mile

Recovery Run

So I found out my online training log allows you to publish activities directly to your blog! How cool. So I thought I'd try it. This is my recovery run tonight.

Route:--Elev. Avg:1173 ft
Location:Edmond, OKElev. Gain:+20 ft
Time:05:56 PMDifficulty:3.6 / 5.0
Weather:A Few Clouds
93 F temp; 44% humidity
98 F heat index; winds S 12 G 20

Distance:4.19 miles
Speed:7.3 mph
Pace:8' 11 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 09-0' 027.4+0.0+16 ft
28' 01-0' 107.5+0.1-16 ft
310' 06+1' 555.9-1.4+43 ft
48' 24+0' 137.1-0.2-10 ft
end8' 15+0' 047.3-0.1-13 ft
Versus average of 8' 11 min/mile

Monday, August 25, 2008

Falling off the wagon

So after my live marathon blogging about how I'm appalled that McDonalds would sponsor the Olympics, I have craved nothing else but a greasy 1/4 pound cheeseburger, extra large french fries and an ice cold Coke! I haven't had a cheeseburger in months, possibly years. I gave up soda months ago and haven't had a craving for a long time. What the F---! Is this Karma? Bad mouth some food and then you crave it? Hope I never talk about those fried scorpions I saw on the Olympics (Damn, that doesn't count does it?).

So I missed my long run yesterday and that began the plunge to a level of indulgence not seen before in the body of Willie since he was 14 and discovered alcohol for the first time.

First I sat on the couch and ate a whole bag of crackers. COVERED IN THAT SOUTHWESTERN SALSA DIP!

Then I decided to eat some cookies, not sure how many. Oh and an ice cream sandwich. Oh and some chicken and BBQ sauce. Oh and some coleslaw of course.

Then we went to church (yes I go. I even make it through the door without lightning striking. Sometimes.) and took the kids to, yep, you guessed it, McDonalds. Well that was too much and I gave in and got the #3, supersized, with a COKE! I gulped that Coke down so fast and it was so good. Oh, how I missed a good cold Coke! I had to inhale the burger so I wouldn't have second thoughts. It was like jumping in the pool, you just have to do it quick and get it over with or you might not do it! 3-4 bites and that baby was gone. Oh the guilt!! Oh the remorse!! I'm so bad, I can't be a runner and eat like that!!

So then we went to Taco Bell. 

Chalupa, and it wasn't CHICKEN! It was beef, Oh I'm such a failure! Beef for goodness sake, from a real cow (probably). How could I?

Look away, I'm hideous! Look away!

I was supposed to start my Boston Marathon training program tomorrow. 3 mile repeats, each in 6:12. Oh what to do, I'll never make that now! I didn't run all last week and I missed my long run this weekend and I ate crap! Boston? Yea right, I'll never make it out the door!

My Sacrifice

To add to my demise, my wife told me I have to go to open house tonight at my oldest son's school. Ahhhh! I hate open houses. I went last year and it was horrible. No one spoke to me and I was surrounded by moms who asked questions of the teachers and knew what they were doing. I was lost. I just wanted to leave. 

So tonight I'll go again and tomorrow my wife will ask me question. Questions like, "what are his teachers like?", "did you get all their contact information?", "did you go to the right classes?", "did you go to the right grade?", "did you go to the right SCHOOL?". She'll have no sympathy for my pain at all. She will never know how painful this was. It's OK, don't cry for me, I am used to sacrifice for my family. That's just how I am, I give to my three, no two, kids.

Thanks for listening   but LOOK AWAY!!  

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Live Olympic Marathon Thoughts

Maybe it's my age but I have noticed lately that I sometimes cannot remember some of my thoughts after a few hours. In order to insure you guys get to hear all that is Willie, I have decided to catch my thoughts regarding the men's Olympic Marathon LIVE! How exciting right?! Ok calm down and listen...

Live Blogging by Willie

Good to see the Kenyans up front but WOW they are flying!

Through 3 miles and they are still running very fast. They keep saying how hot it is, I think in the 80's with some high humidity. That would kill me but I'm not a professional.

Pack is really thinning now and Ryan Hall is NOT in the lead pack. I know the pace is fast but they may have trouble making that distance up. The front runners may have to walk in order for the Americans to catch up. 

Noticed it's sunny and no clouds or haze. Maybe the Chinese did a good job cleaning up the pollution for the Olympics. 

Everyone is drinking. Not just pouring over their heads, they are really drinking. One guy (Spanish I think) is even carrying a water bottle. Have a feeling that means they will slow?

OK Ryan is carrying a water bottle also. Not a good sign. He looks tired and hot. He's 46 seconds off the lead pack. Hope that's his goal pace. Run your own race Ryan, not much else you can do. Hopefully the leaders will fade.

Couldn't care less about Mao's tomb. Glad he's gone. Move on NBC.

The leaders are on 2:04 pace. That's not totally crazy pace, no matter what Ed Eyestone is saying. 2:04 is doable even in hot conditions. 

Forbidden city, again, I don't care. How many Chinese died building it for the emperor? 

Ok ryan is looking good, nice form. 50 seconds off the lead now. His form looks very tight to me. His arm swing doesn't seem relaxed but I'm sure it is for him. I love to notice the differences in runner's forms. When I ran with Bill Rogers my first impression was that he ran like a chicken! He was up on his toes, his arms swung wide and he seemed to bounce. If he hadn't been the person who won more Boston Marathons than anyone, I would have given him some tips!

Did I tell you my aunt is from Big Bear California and knows Ryan Hall's father? I talked to her while I was home last week. She knows nothing of running but when I asked her about the Hall family from Big Bear, she immediately knew Mickey. She had no idea his son was running in the Olympic Marathon!  

Should I know where Eritrea is? Where ever they are from they seem to be slowing. They seem to be looking back a lot. Found it on Google.

Mile 9 and finally Ed Eyestone is seeing the reality that one of these leaders might actually hang onto this pace and win!!! Shocking Ed, what an observation.

Lost the Spaniard and a couple others. We've got Ethiopia, Kenya, and Eritrea and Morocco up front. Ryan's over a minute behind. Ritz is ahead of him. Come on USA, keep going, hang in there! 

They say that Ryan is catching "debris". I think they mean runners who are struggling. I wonder if I've ever been referred to as "debris"? I don't think I'd like it but I've felt like it sometimes. I'd still kick someone's ass for calling me that though.

Down to 5 in the lead pack. These guys are still moving fast. I haven't seen one of them take a Gu yet. What's up with that? Don't they know how great those things are? I take my E-Gel every 8 miles. They should try it. Just a suggestion.

This couch is comfortable. Those guys look tired. I need a wine break, be back in a minute. Mmmm good Zin. We're at mile 13 and I'm drinking. I should try that in a race sometime. Why not have a glass of wine at halfway?

Showing scenes from the 2004 marathon. Old boy ran out on the course and took out the leader! Holy crap that sucks. I wasn't running back then so I didn't see it. Guy still held on for 3rd though. That awesome, I love running. Hard to imagine my old life as a non-runner back then. 

1:02:38 at the 1/2. WOW that's fast. The winner at the Parkersburg Half Marathon didn't run that fast. These guys have 13 more miles to run. I'm not sure I can even fathom that pace. Way beyond my mind's ability to relate. Wine still tastes good though. 

My dog looks really excited. I think she's really into this race. I'll have to calm her down or she may explode.

I wonder what mind games these guys play? Do they get lost in thought or do they focus on the race? They seem to be looking back  a lot still. Ritz is still ahead of Ryan. I really hope these guys slow. Ed thinks the leaders have slowed some. Numbers don't lie Ed, what pace are they running? Is it slower than the last mile? Come on Ed, give us some facts! Beginning to not like Ed.

Wine glass almost empty again. I'm running 12 miles tomorrow and I wonder if I should have another glass. I'll let you know what I decide. I wonder if these guys have problems with their nipples bleeding? Hey there's a shot from behind and that one guy pronates really bad! I've got something in common with him! We could be friends.

Now we have "carnage" on the course. I can relate to that term. I've been "carnage". 

We've got a breakaway of 2 now at mile 18. Merga is in the lead and he looks strong. He hasn't seemed as tired as the rest and he has been pushing the pace for a while now. How come that freak from Athens can't come out and stop these guys? That would let Ryan and Ritz catch up. Another wine break, be back soon.

The Moroccan caught up again so there's 3 now. Ed's finally convinced himself one of these guys will medal. Really Ed, very insightful commentary. Am I picking on him too much? I'll blame it on the wine. 

McDonald's commericial. Olympic sponsor, still makes me laugh. Should sponsor children's obesity clinics. That would be more reasonable. 

20 miles. The race begins. Still have 3 up front and they are still flying. Mile 21 in 1:40. They will finish somewhere around 2:05 so that means they will run the last 5 miles in a little more than the time it takes me to run a 5K. Amazing. They must eat at McDonalds. 

Ritz in 10th, Hall in 11th. They're on 2:10 pace. That's a great pace but I guess not against the African's. I suppose we don't have a chance at a medal. Maybe I was expecting too much. I really wanted to see the re-appearance of American distance running. I still think it's happening but it's on the small screen and not a red-carpet appearance.

Kenyan has broken away with 4 to go. Can't spell his name. I wouldn't have picked him a few miles ago. He looked tired. My wife did. I'm sure she'll remind me of it soon. She's never ran a marathon so her opinion was just a guess. Mine was an educated guess. Goes to show how much education helps! I'll go with woman's intuition every time.


Kenyan way ahead now. He looks great and hasn't slowed at all. They can see the Birdsnest now. The clock is about to cross 2 hours. All alone in the lead of the Olympic marathon. What a feeling that must be. I hope he takes it all in and remembers it. I know he needs money and running is his career but the moments in running are important. He will also be the first Kenyan to win the Olympic marathon. The world will never remember him but I bet his country will. 

He's coming into the stadium. I have goosebumps for him! What a feeling. And the crowd goes wild!!! That's right people, he's a marathoner. He's amazing, he's special, he's doing something that you can't even imagine. Cheer for him. Give him glory, he has earned it. He's kicking now, he's running even faster than before! Where does he get the energy? 2:06:32! An Olympic record by almost 3 minutes! Give that man a beer. 

Wait a minute, we could have a race for 3rd! Two Ethiopians are battling for it. Come on baby, make it a race! I think he's gonna get him! 26.1 miles down and the race is now on the back stretch of the track! He got him! He overtook him. What a race. Awesome. I love the marathon.

Ritz is in the stadium in 9th place. That's not bad at all. Ryan is behind him in 10th. Two American's in the top ten is great. Ritz ran a 2:11:58. Ryan ran a 2:12:32. Those are really good times. I'm so proud to have not one but two American's run in the top ten and with good times. Our distance running future looks good. 

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rambling Olympic Thoughts

So I noticed that I have been watching the Olympics a lot but not writing about it. So here are some totally unorganized thoughts regarding the Olympics.

  • Why do the divers shower after every dive? You don't see the swimmers showering after they swim.
  • Love the beach volleyball. Obvious reasons. I'm not gay but ladies you are being cheated, I noticed the guys wear shirts and shorts! Given what the ladies wear, I'd be pissed if I were you.
  • If those Chinese gymnasts are 16, I really do look like Brad Pitt.  
  • What the heck happened to Bernard Lagat in the 1500?
  • The women's marathon was AWESOME even if Paula didn't win. I was pulling so hard for her. I really wanted Paula to get a gold this time. Proud of her for finishing even though I hate that she felt she had too in order to satisfy the British press.  
  • How much must it suck to break your foot in the Olympic marathon? How many marathons has Deena run and fate decides to break her foot in the Olympics? Wow, I can't even imagine what that must feel like.
  • Anthony Famiglietti is really cool. If you haven't been catching his video blog on you should. He has such a cool attitude and he gives an interesting and different look at China.
  • So looking forward to the men's marathon. Go Ryan Hall!
  • What happened to Tyson Gay? Wow, I really thought he'd do better. I hate to say I'm disappointed but I am. 
  • Shalane Flannagan pulled out an amazing Bronze in the 10,000 meters. I was so proud to watch her. It was one of those moments when I didn't expect an American to be close and she pulled it out. I love those moments.
  • Is it just me or is NBC ignoring many of the longer distance running events? I got so excited for the 10,000 meters and the Steeplechase only to be disappointed. I saw some highlights but I still haven't seen the entire events. Why couldn't they post the videos somewhere?
  • It must be horrible to run a marathon in that smog. I know it's offensive to China to talk about it but damn that city is dirty! Then again I just ran a half marathon in Southeastern Ohio where there are at least 5 chemical plants within 20 miles and I have to carry my inhaler all the time! 
Thanks for listening

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Parkersburg Half Marathon Race Report

The weather has been great here in southeastern Ohio and raceday dawn with the same wonderfully cool and dry conditions. Since this was only a half marathon they started at 8 instead of the usual 6 AM marathon start time. Yea! Sleep in time baby. Forgot that my wife and son were running the 2 mile race which meant we had to get up at 6:30 anyway to get everyone and everything together. So much for the sleeping in but it's still better than waking at 4:30 and running in the dark for the first few miles.


I was extremely worried about the hills on this course and my legs were still feeling tight so I was still working out my race strategy as I lined up. By the time the gun went off I had come to the extremely well thought-out and detailed plan of "Screw-It this is just for fun anyway" strategy. Pretty good for a last minute plan don't you think? I though so and was proud of myself for thinking of it.

Garmin and I, along with 700 of our new friends, started off behind the 4-5 Ethiopians who had travelled to West-By-God-Virginia. We were running comfortably and I was ignoring Garmin for the first couple miles just to make sure my legs and mind were on the same page before I worried about my pace. Our first real hill was a downhill. I was surprised at the slapping of feet I heard all around. It was like a herd of buffalo running on pavement! I thought I was bad at hill running! My shins hurt just listening to it. We settled out and hit our first real hill around mile 2. I had run this one on Wednesday so I was ready for it. No problem, up and over. Next hill had a water stop at the top of it. What a great idea! I love these people. Grabbed some water and we were on the downhill again. Mile 3 was at the bottom and it was rolling hills after that for many miles. I had made it through the tough part. Holy crap, I'm still alive, both legs still attached and I was still running. 

I began to check Garmin as we ran along scenic South Parkersburg. I was easily running just under 8 min/mile. GREAT! Didn't expect that. Hey there's the golf course I got kicked off of when I was in school. They didn't appreciate us racing their golf carts. Or maybe it was the crashing more than the racing? Either way they made us leave with a police escort. Not one of my finer moments in history.

Still more rolling hills as we past my brothers house. Still running under 8's. I was beginning to worry that this may be too fast. I committed myself to keeping it easy until 6 miles. Hey look, 6 mile marker in 47 minutes. Where did that come from? This is kinda fun. Did I mention the water stops? Wow they had one every mile! I'm not kidding, every mile on the 1/2 mile there was Gatorade and water and wonderful, cheering people. I grabbed some water and took my PowerBar gel at mile 7 1/2. 

I did some quick math, kept my shoes on so it wasn't exact, and figured I had a chance to PR on this course if I could pick it up a little. I knew there were hills up ahead but I was over half way and I had at least 2 more miles before I got to them so what the heck.  I put the hammer down and lengthened my stride and tried to make quick turnovers. It actually felt good. I started picking out people to use as targets. It's a mental game I use to make sure my mind doesn't get time to think too much and figure out I'm actually running. I like to keep him in the dark about these things. I saw a large group of people way up ahead of me and put a bulls-eye on them. I caught them about the time we got back into the city and then picked out a group of women who were running just ahead of me. This was about mile 10 and I was waiting on the hills. As I got closer to these women I could hear them talking. And talking. And talking. Chatty-Cathy's. Here I was running hard and barely catching them and they were chatting about who was going to drive home! Super ego-blow. When I caught them they decided to talk to me. I tried to make good conversation. Something along the lines of, "yea", "good", "Ughh", "Blah" etc... 

I did get enough energy to ask them where the next hill was. They told me to look to my right. HOLY CRAP THAT'S A BIG HILL! I thought that not enough energy to speak it. Who puts a major hill at mile 12 of a 13 mile race? Satanic cults with a running problem, that's who! I put my head down and charged up West Virginia's version of Pikes Peak. Thighs burning, lungs in my hand, and chatty-Cathys behind me, I made it to the top. "It's all downhill from hear" is what a spectator yelled at me. Yea! it has to be since there's only 3/4 mile left and I'm at the F-ing top of the world! Where else to go but down! Now shut up and let me swallow my lungs and finish this race. 

I hit Market street and it actually was downhill so I started my kick. I caught a couple people and the finish line announcer actually called me out! It was cool to hear my name and home town called out so I raised my arms and showed off a bit. Figured I'd earned it and most of these people don't know where Oklahoma is anyway! Some of them may remember me from my younger days anyway and they would expect no less. 

I finished in 1:40:52 according to Garmin. That's just 2 minutes off my PR. I was VERY happy with that given the hills. At the finish I heard an old friends name announced just after mine so I waited to see him. I walked up and re-introduced myself and he remembered me. He said he had run behind me the whole race and noticed me because of the Oklahoma City Runners Club shirt. He had no idea it was an old friend! He had run cross country and track with my brother so I took him over to my parents and brother and we got caught up on all the details of each other's lives. What a great surprise. 

This was a wonderful race. I have never seen so many volunteers. They were everywhere handing out water, stopping traffic, directing runners and even riding bikes along the course with radios to watch for runners in trouble. What great organization. This is my hometown but even I was impressed with the race organization and the city's embrace of the event. People were everywhere cheering and watching. All in all a wonderful event and I'm glad I came. 

After the race I went out on the Ohio River with my dad, brother and his family. It was a beautiful day and we had a ball. Here is a picture of my son diving into the river. 

Thanks for listening.      

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A run into the past

Today I ran with the cross country coach of my old High School team. He was my junior and senior math teacher whom I really liked but also struggled with. Although I am now an engineer I didn't take to math early on in my education and I had many an altercation with this guy over the course of my last two years in High School. Luckily he is a wonderful guy and was willing to let things stay in the past. 

I first saw him on Monday when I was at the local city park watching my wife and son run. I got to talking to him about the cross country team and he gave me the short history. I guess the team sort of disbanded last year after the previous coach left. The previous coach was a kid who ran for my dad a few years after I graduated and was never really committed. Lord knows why he decided to coach but it sounds like he didn't do much. This new coach is recruiting and rebuilding. His hope is to get everyone on the team to finish a 5k without walking this year then work on racing next year. He also wants to get the kids out and active and possibly hooked on running for the rest of their lives. That's a goal I can really get behind! 

I asked if I could help and he said that the school bought new tops for the team but couldn't afford shorts. I told him not to worry that my wife and I would happily buy new shorts for the team. I figure it was the least I could do for a team that helped me through High School. My wife immediately said that we are buying the girls running skirts! She wants to make them all running divas! I don't know if that's within the Ohio Athletic Association's rules but we'll give it a try. Go BELPRE!!

So today I met up with him to run some miles together. He said he never runs more than 5 miles at a time because of his back. LIES!!! He is 15 years old than me and he pulled me along for the entire run. Which, I might add, was over 7 miles! Now in my defense, he did take me on some serious hills over in West Virginia. These monsters were steep and long and my thighs did not like them AT ALL. I wasn't feeling exactly loose and relaxed before the run and the hills didn't do much to help that cause. 

At some point around mile 5 I did loosen up and it started to feel comfortable. We talked about everything from running to school boards. It was really a great run with wonderful conversation. When we finished I checked Garmin and she said we started off at 8:30 but sped up to 8:03 then 7:40's through the hills! We actually ran faster over the hills than on the flat! Oh yea, so much for the 5 mile limit and the bad back! This guy can still run. I felt great afterwards and am actually happy the team has such a great coach.

Thanks for listening

Monday, August 11, 2008

Country Road take me home....

Got my long run in yesterday on the country roads and hills around my home town. I used to run these roads and hills all the time when I was younger. When I was much younger. When I used to run hills a lot. When I had stamina and strength. When I ... Well you get the point. This run hurt much more than I remember.

I forgot to bring my interface cable for Garmin or I would post the elevation chart from this course. It looks a lot like this 
          /\        /    \
        /    \    /        \
      /        \/            \
    /                            \
  /                                \
/                                    \   etc...

I snapped some pictures but they don't do the hills justice. 

I ran a total of 11 miles and I actually felt pretty good. The hills only lasted for the first 6 miles then I finished off in town. I ran past my grandfathers grave and the house I grew up in. I then ran down the main street in town where I got honked and waved at by someone I'm sure I should know. 

I ended the run by adding the Lee street hill which my coach used to make us do hill repeats on. It is short but steep.

I am beginning to settle down here at home. Things are going well and I've stayed away from the bottle for the most part. Today I'm taking a break from running to let myself recover from 2 hard days. I am watching the Olympics and resting. 

Thanks for listening

Saturday, August 9, 2008

7 Miles in my hometown

Normally my trips back home are a series of small tortures induced by my parents or my in-laws involving massive guilt for never coming home or not spending enough time with any of them. Inevitably the conversation will turn to religion and I will be accused of being a horrible father because my children are being raised by a Catholic mother, Gasp, hiss, OMG how could I let this happen!! Maybe this explains why my religion of choice is alcohol and running! Run that little piece of information past my family and you may have a heart attack on your hands! Then they start to get on my kids and it's game on. That's when I usually lose all ability to maintain demeanor and walk out the door. Needless to say, there's a reason I live no closer than 8 hours from them.

Well this time I am prepared. I have an already beat-up mental state and massive amounts of Whisky ready for anything they can throw at me. I am calm, I have resolved not to speak and to be drunk or running for a majority of the trip. 

So today I implemented this plan by sleeping in and heading out for an easy run as soon as I got up. I decided to run one of my favorite high school routes which starts at the local park and runs across the Ohio river bridge. It turns out that this is homecoming weekend and the park was in the middle of a carnival when I arrived. GREAT! I parked outside the park and just headed out. I felt great and was easily maintaining a 8:10 pace. I thought that was a little fast so I slowed some hoping to get a long slow run in. I took some pictures on the bridge.

Photo: If you can't read it that says "Parkersburg, WV"         This one is looking back at the bridge with a sternwheeler

After my jaunt across the bridge I headed back into Ohio and along the river past my old track coach's house. I haven't seen him in years and didn't dare stop. 

Then I ran back into town and headed for my old track. The last time I was on this track it was cinders. Now it was rubberized. Wow, Belpre Ohio has come into the 20th century! Did I mention I had to climb over construction equipment to get out on the track? Well, I guess I wasn't supposed to be out there and I got caught! The guy was really great but I could tell he didn't want me there. Screw him, go ahead and call the cops that would make it just like my high school days. I snapped a few pictures and left. 

Photo: My old track stands. They are now named after my track coach! Oh great now I feel old!

I left my high school and picked up the pace to a good 7:20 min/mile pace for the last mile and a half. I walked around the carnival for a few minutes to cool down while making sure not to make eye contact with anyone I probably should know. Lots of memories and bad flashbacks.

Thanks for listening

More San Francisco Ramblings

Tired of hearing about my San Francisco adventure yet??

Here is a link to my race photos. Be sure to notice the one where I'm texting! Didn't see that camera! Ooops

I made it to Ohio last night and my son is HUGE! It seems he has grown a foot since I saw him last. He is also very delightful to be around. Hmmm. Something must be up, he wasn't like that when he left. Oh well, I'll never understand children so I guess I'll ride the good wave until it crashes.

We stopped off at my favorite Whisky (old-Scottish spelling I learned) distillery yesterday while driving through Kentucky. Marker's Mark distillery is a wonderful place to visit. We got to tour the facility and got free samples!! I also dropped a few thousand dollars at the gift shop (surprise). I bought a special bottle for my good buddy back home and also some accessories for his bar. 

The weather here in Ohio is WONDERFUL! It's sunny and warm but not hot. It's great, I'm heading out for a run on my old High School routes. I am hoping to run across the Ohio-West Virginia bridge today which was one of my favorite routes. Tomorrow I am going to do my long run on the Braun-Farson loop which has major hills on it. My wife thinks I'm insane but I have to prove I can still run those hills. I used to run them at least once a week and they were hard but not impossible. It's a 13 mile loop and with the weather it should be a perfect long run. We'll see and you'll hear!!

Thanks for listening 

Thursday, August 7, 2008

San Francisco Marathon Report

San Francisco Marathon race report.

I enjoyed my time with RBR so much that I didn't return to my hotel the night before the marathon until almost 10 PM. This was not good since I had flown into town the night before at midnight. I hadn't had a good nights sleep for days and was hoping to get to bed early the night before the race. Oh well, it was worth it.

I decided to wake up at 3:30 in order to get downtown and park well before my 5:45 start time. Luckily I didn't lay in bed for long before I was out. I slept well and was easily up with the wake-up call and dressed in my Oklahoma attire. I did all my ritualistic pre-marathon routines which I will spare you the details of. 

I jumped in the car and headed downtown. It was then that I learned that San Francisco is not much different than Oklahoma city at 4:00 AM. There was no traffic and plenty of parking spaces very near the start. Great! Now what do I do for an hour and 45 minutes? I decided to take a nap in the car for awhile and then head down to check in my gear. 

After my nap I wandered down to the start. I stole a bottle of water from the volunteer's tent (sorry! I was thirsty) and promised to help someone during the race to at least earn it. There wasn't even a line at the Porto-potties! What marathon doesn't have a line at the Porto-potties??? I've run small town 5ks where I had to wait for a chance to partake of the wonderful sights and smells of portable toilets!! Not in San Francisco at 5:00 AM! I'm sure they filled up later. 

I ventured over to the start line and took some pictures. The bay bridge was lit up and looked great so I got a picture of it also. I even had a nice lady take my picture in front of the start. I was amazingly calm which rare for me before a marathon. I was just so happy to be there and have the ability to run a marathon in such a wonderful city. I guess I was in a thankful mood more than a competitive one. I hope I'm not becoming a softy!! 

I took my pain killers, stocked up my Race Ready shorts with E-Gel and my cell phone and checked my bag. I should have known there would be trouble when they took my bag and immediately threw it (I'm not kidding) back to a young man who caught it and put in on a pile with the rest of the bags. Not much of a system. I then went up the street a distance to get a good view of the start of the elites. They were starting at 5:20 so I had some time to get some pictures before I had to start. I pushed my way to the front and watched as the REALLY fast people took off. Unfortunately my cell phone camera wasn't fast enough to catch a good shot of the speedsters in the dark but it was cool to watch. These guys and gals were taking off like they were in a 5K! More power to them, I'll be in the back. 

Eventually we started and I settled into a nice pace with the rest of wave 4. I think this wave starting thing is great. I didn't have to walk to the start line and was running immediately with plenty of room around me. We were heading down the road that runs along the bay (Embarcedado?) and the views were cool even at night. I tried to stay near the 3:50 pace group but didn't really care since it was still way to early. I stopped a couple times to take pictures of Alcatraz and the bay once the sun started to come up. Near the end of the road we ran by the Sourdough bread company which was torture because it smelled WONDERFUL! I slowed up some to get more of the smell. I can't help it I LOVE BREAD! 

At the end of the bay road we got on the sidewalk and ran out right along the water at some amphitheater looking thing. We then hit a road again and our first hill! It was short but steep. I took a picture and sent it to Southbay girl who immediately responded that I hadn't even gotten to the hills yet. Great, it only gets worse. By this time the sun was up behind the clouds and the Golden Gate was in sight so I stopped repeatedly to take pictures. One guy offered to take my picture with the bridge in the background but I refused. I was a little self-conscious about acting like a tourist in the middle of a marathon. I knew I was being laughed at for stopping every 100 yards so I didn't want to push it. He laughed and I said that I was in San Francisco to see the bridge and I just needed a marathon to blame my trip on! 

As we approached the bridge we had... you guessed it... more hills. This was a sign of things to come. Most weren't bad and I was up and over them quickly. 

Then we got to the bridge. It was really cool to run past the toll booths and out onto the Golden Gate. It was a little surreal for me. I think I was in a daze for a few minutes but I recovered and reminded myself that I was really doing this. SO COOL! They put us in one lane of the bridge so we were a little crowded but not bad. I was able to run normally just couldn't stop because I would have been trampled. I took pictures, I sent texts, and I took in the moment. I forgot I was running. I felt so good I was running on air. This is what I had come for and now it was happening. Usually I am depressed at moments like these since there is nothing left to look forward to but not this time. I was up, I was alive, and I was running.

I took my first E-Gel at mile 8 coming back across the bridge. I was feeling great and my legs had loosened up. After I had a brief text conversation with my son back in Ohio I put the phone away and decided it was time to race. This was mile 10. I kicked in a little speed and slipped under 8 min/mile still feeling good. We entered a park right after the bridge (and some more rolling hills). This is where it got kinda boring. I'm not sure if it was the lack of crowd support or whether I was just coming down off my bridge induced high but I was having trouble staying focused. I was still feeling good but I couldn't get lost in my thoughts like I usually do. I kept looking at my watch monitoring my pace way too much. I went through the half at 1:51 by my Garmin. I noticed that my Garmin distance and the race course distance markers were beginning to get further and further off. Garmin was about .2 miles ahead of the markers. It was interesting at this point in the race but would become a point of much anger later.

I was well ahead of the 3:50 pace group at mile 14. I was holding off on my second E-Gel until mile 16 since that had worked for me in the OKC marathon. I was still running strong and feeling OK when all of a sudden I had a thought of walking. Where did that come from? Then I started feeling tired, my head started hanging low and my legs felt heavy. What the F---! I stopped and walked. I was completely drained. I was having horrible thoughts of a bad finishing time. I took my E-Gel and kept walking. I tried to stop thinking. I tried to breath deep. I tried to relax. Still walking. Still tired. When the 3:50 pacer (it was a different person! They had swapped out at the 1/2. Jerks!), I tried to jog with them. it was horrible at first but eventually the energy kicked in and I was back on pace. My spirits improved and I was able to get lost in my mind again. Even now I'm not sure what happened. I suppose I waited too long for the E-Gel and I hit the wall but I think it was a lack of mental toughness due to no long run training. Getting your mind to ignore pain and fatigue is something I had to learn and it requires practice to keep it. 

So I ran with the 3:50 group for awhile. Around mile 17 I fell into a faster pace though and left them again. I was nervous about this but figured I had nothing to lose. I was only running 8:30's so It wasn't that fast. 

I kept a good pace through mile 19. When we got out of the park and into town we hit those hills again. It seemed like every time we went around a turn we went up hill! The only saving grace was that we usually had a downhill on the other side. Still though, those up and down hills were taking a toll on my thighs. I could already feel them burning which I had never felt before. I knew I asking them to do things they were not used to. By mile 20 I was spending more energy trying to maintain my pace than normal and I knew I was in trouble. It wasn't the kind a trouble you could slow down and recover from either. It was that feeling that I was nearing empty and there was nothing left in the tank once it's gone. I took a picture of the 20 mile marker and sent it to a group of people with the text "hurting". It was a plea for support. I was running on fumes and I knew it. I immediately got responses, it was so cool! Thank you guys so much, you may never know how much those words helped. 

It was during these last miles that I started getting upset with Garmin and the mile markers. I always play a mind game with myself when I'm tired where once I cross a mile marker I immediately round down the miles to go. So if I get to the 22 mile marker I figure I am at mile 22.something so I really only have 3 miles to go. It works well for me usually. Well now I had Garmin beeping mile 22 at me a quarter of a mile before I saw the marker. So I would get in my zone of rounding and just about the time my mind was giving in to this little lie, I would see the marker for 22 and lose all hope again! It basically threw off my game and I couldn't focus. Guess I need more than one mind game to play. 

I refused to walk. I was shuffling along at just under 9 min/mile with my head down. I was watching the sweat drip off the brim of my hat. It was amazingly consistent. I was desperate for something to help me disconnect from the pain. I was latching onto other runners and watching their shoes, I was trying to find a song in my head, trying to keep my feet moving. I took 2 E-Gel's in that last 4 miles and I don't remember where. The last one I couldn't stomach. I took one gulp and threw it away. My stomach was overwhelmed. 

The 3:50 pace group caught me just before the 25 mile marker. I tried all I could to stay with them but I just couldn't keep up. This was as we ran past the baseball park and along the bay again. It really was pretty but I couldn't have cared less. My body was done. I really wanted to run strong at the finish because I knew there would be a crowd and I hate to look like a corpse when there are people around. So as I came around the ball park into the street I tried to straighten up and at least give an appearance of being alive. Luckily I was able to see the 26 mile marker and then the finish. This gave me one last push and I was able to run across the line with arms in the air and smiling (very important!!!). Finish time: 3:50. Not great but I'll take it.

The marathon was wonderful and I would absolutely do it again and recommend it to anyone. My thighs really took a beating on the hills and are still sore today. 

I looked around for RBR and crew and eventually found them. I was a mess so I think I scared them a little. They had Starbucks coffee and seeing this I immediately wanted some! I tried to pull myself together and find some shred of dignity but then someone asked what that red stain was on my shirt. I looked down and saw that I had one of those very embarrassing male running issues. My OKC Landrunner shirt has a bad habit of rubbing my chest the wrong way in 2 certain areas. I knew this and tried to take care of it during the first 1/2 of the race but had obviously neglected to check during the second 1/2. Ooops, very embarrassing. The RBR girls obviously didn't know about this condition as they cringed when they figured out what it was. Ok, all dignity gone now I ran for a marathon blanket to cover up! Extreme hit to my self confidence when meeting new people with blood stains on my shirt. Way to go Willie!!! Oh well, I am who I am.

We eventually met up with Calyx and some friends and went back to their lavish hotel room for showers. We then hit the bay for lunch, chit-chat, and pictures. I really enjoyed my time with them and they are all so wonderful. I am blessed to have such great friends.

Thanks for listening

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hot Triathlons makes for hot women

Wow I'm tired! This has been a busy weekend but SO AWESOME I can't believe it actually happened. I'm breaking up the trip into a couple posts. Here is the first chapter.

Day 1 (actually night)

I left Oklahoma at 7:30 PM when it was about 10000 degrees in the shape. I flew into

LA and then up to San Francisco where it was in the 50's. My body just didn't know what to do! I think it was in shock. I hit the sack around midnight on the west coast which converts to about 5 AM central time I think.

At least that's what it felt like.

Photo: Interesting landmark near my hotel. What is a "Cow Palace"? A hindu temple? maybe a big building full of sparkling hay?

I awoke to a gleaming sun and, again, 50 degree temperatures. I took the BART into downtown San Francisco and tried to act like I knew what I was doing. I had a map (very touristy) and spent a few minutes trying to figure out which train to take into the city. While I was doing this 2 trains came and went. Turns out that all the trains head into the city from where I was! I'm a genius, I know. It cost me $2 and took about 15 minutes to get right down on the bay using BART! Public transit ROCKS! We should so get that in Oklahoma.

I walked from the train down to the Expo (stopping at Starbucks of course). I was a TOTAL tourist during this walk. I took pictures of everything. I must of taken 10 photos of the Bay Bridge. It was just so cool! The sun was out and it look wonderful.

I walked into the expo like a kid going into a candy store. They had so much stuff and I needed all of it! I just had to have it. I don't know how I made it through life this long without it! As I was walking around panting and drooling, I

saw a familiar face. Actually I saw a bunch of familiar tattoos and piercings. With a second look I nearly stopped in my tracks. It was The Dirt Diva! I have been ready her blog for awhile now and now here she was right in front of me. I tried to be cool, I really did but the inner-dork came out like a river! I ran up to her and told her I read her blog and was a big fan. Luckily she was totally cool and extremely nice! I tried to take her picture and she suggested I get my picture taken with her. Total nerd-ness again as I almost screamed like a girl and put my arm around her while her friend took our picture. I'm a complete rock-star now!

I ended up buying a hat and another pair of RaceReady shorts. I got the longest ones they had which were 6". I love these shorts, they have pouches in the back and 2 velcro pockets in the front. My cell phone fits perfectly into them. Ok so pick my running clothes for my gadgets.

Photo: Bart Yasso signing a copy of his book

Wonderful California Traffic

Where in the world can you turn a 1.5 hour trip into an all day adventure? On the 101 heading north out of San Francisco that's where! Hey look a cow, let's slow down. Hey look grass, let's slow down. OMG it's a tree, let's come to a complete stop! A MERGE! HOLY CRAP BRING THE F-ING WORLD TO A HALT. Wow we haven't stop for 5 miles, let's stop for.... for.... for..... NOT A DAMN THING THAT'S WHAT! Ok enough griping about the traffic.

Barb's Race around Hell.

So I left the Expo to head North to see RBR and crew run Barb's triathlon. After fighting traffic, did I mention the traffic?, I made it to the race really late. Just to make things more interesting my cell phone battery died when I arrived. Great, good thing there are only about 1000 people running this race, should be easy to pick out someone I've never met. I walked around and got the lay of the land and discovered that the run was actually done in loops that came by the finish line each lap. Yea! now all I had to do was wait until someone came by that looked like RBR, yell at them like an idiot (comes naturally), then repeat until someone responds.

In the interim you'll never guess who I ran into. The author of the Athena Diaries! I recognized her and ran up like an idiot (told you). I think I spooked her a little, she seemed very hesitant. I'm blaming it on the 98 degree heat and not on the fact that I am a total Internet stalker who knew this person when she didn't know me from Adam. Yea, it was the heat.

Finally I saw her. She came around the finish and I knew her immediately. It was like my soul woke up and said, "Yes Willie, that is her". Ok so she was wearing her RBR pink shirt and her pink hat and was cussing like a sailor that gave it away! Actually no cussing but I'm sure she was on the inside. I yelled and she came over and gave me a big hug. Then she started her 2nd lap. Did I mention it was hot? It was hot, really hot. I was afraid she may melt into a pink stain on the road before she finished this race. I walked some of the run loop and there was VERY little shade.

RBR made it around and came into the finish with her LA run buddy. I screamed and yelled trying my best to embarrass them. Little did I know that feat may be impossible, a fact I would learn later! I stood around with the pink crew and heard all about the race and the heat (did I mention it was hot?). I also got to watch RBR shower with her friend! 

Got a picture of it too! They all did awesome just to finish that monster. 

We all got together again for dinner and had a wonderful time. They are all so interesting and extremely funny. I felt like I was in the company of old friends and not sitting in a restaurant 1500 miles from home with total strangers. These ladies were great. Total class (OK so not much for the class but that suits me just fine). We will definitely do this again.

Thanks for listening