Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tulsa 2010

I ran the Tulsa Rt. 66 marathon last Sunday. This is my favorite marathon for many reasons, not the least of which is because it's close to home but not close enough that it feels boring. It's like a travel marathon without the expensive hotel and plane ticket. I also usually run good at this one because it's the first Fall marathon that I run and the cool weather helps.

I had no expectations for this other than to have fun and enjoy the pain I knew was coming due to my lack of training. I often say that to truly enjoy marathons you need a healthy dose of self-dislike because it makes the pain bearable. Well I knew this one would require some serious pissed-off-ed-ness at old Willie for me to get through. Let's just say I had a lot to draw from lately.

One really cool new twist to my experience was that my oldest clone was running the half marathon at Tulsa this year too so I got to share the day with him. As much as I don't want him to be anything like me I do like having him around because we have so much fun together. He is still my son and I have to get on him sometimes but mostly we share the same sense of humor and enjoy the same things so it's like having a perfect friend. I do hope he gets the running bug.

So my son and I rode to Tulsa with 2 of my best friends who were also running the full marathon. We had a great time listening to Christmas music and chatting about most things running and some things not. I've had some of the best conversations with these people and this time didn't disappoint.

So the marathon was fairly straight forward. I hooked up with the 3:50 pace group at the start and ran just in front of them for most of the race. I figured 3:50 was about the best I was capable of right now so I was glad to see that the pace felt comfortable. It was a beautiful running day which means it was overcast and cool. I love the sun but since I'm out of shape I needed all the help I could get and the overcast was probably good for about 10 minutes off my time that day. I can enjoy my wonderful sunshine sometime when I'm in a better running form to enjoy it.

Here is the thing that got me that day and the reason I needed to write this post. Around mile 14-15 I ran by some fire trucks and saw a man performing CPR on a runner who had collapsed during the half marathon. I had never seen real CPR before and I was shocked. Stunned really. The runner lay motionless on the ground while a fireman was violently pressing his chest in an attempt to save this poor man's life. I had so many thoughts at that moment all of which, I'm sure, were fatigue induced. Had this man just died? Was his spirit hanging around watching this? Did he know he was gone? All these weird thoughts raced through my brain as I continued running. It was as if I weren't really there but I was watching myself see all this. Very, very weird.

I will admit that, although I focused on this site for the next few miles, by mile 18 I had forgotten about it and was concentrating on the pain in my legs and knees which had become vicious by then. I was really feeling the lack of endurance by mile 20. I felt I had the energy to go on and run strong but my legs weren't ready for the beating they had taken and each step was hurting. I knew this was coming so I took it very well and walked a little to stretch things out. I ran when I could and walked when I needed and finished in a respectable 3:57.

After the race I met up with my son and our running friends for our post-race lunch and beverages, not remembering at all the feelings I'd had about the CPR incident. It wasn't until later, when I heard the man had died, that I remembered those weird feelings and I really thought about what I'd seen. I'm not going to say that it was a profound moment in my life and that I'm a changed man because of it, nothing that dramatic or cheesy. It was just an experience that I had and I'm not sure how to take it or what to do with it. As I remembered that scene I was struck with the thought of what this man was planning after the race. Was he planning to meet his family and friends for a beer? Did they have dinner plans in Tulsa? I wondered if he had checked out of his hotel room? All these mundane things that I plan and do around a marathon and I never once stop to think, "what if I don't finish this thing?". That's not something you plan for, nor should you! I suppose it's supposed to be weird and unusual to deal with the mundane things after a tragedy. That's why it's a tragedy. I had just never thought about it before like I did on the race course last Sunday. I wish I could say I am going to contemplate this event and re-evaluate my ways but that isn't me. In fact, it sounds silly just to type it. I had a glimpse into a tragedy and it had an impact on me. What that impact is beyond the ones I've shared here I don't know.

Thanks for listening

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My old friend

I have a wonderful friend in the running club who hosts a brunch every year following a 5K that is run very near to her home. The food is always outstanding at this brunch so I always attend. This year I figured I should run the 5K also since I've never run it and I always feel a little guilty about showing up for the food without running.

My training plan has 1 speedwork session every week and I decided that this 5K would fill that requirement so I skipped my normal Tuesday night track session and held off until Saturday morning where I could get in 3, 1 mile repeats with 0 seconds of rest between. Perfect! I had done this before using a free 5K that was held every Wednesday night over the summer months. It was a small affair used by the racing production company to train their new people on the timing equipment. All you had to do was show up and be their guinnea pig and you got a free, chip timed 5k.

My best time at those summer races was a 20:36 which I was extremely please with since I don't normally run 5ks. I was hoping for a similar time this morning but it wasn't meant to be. It has turned cold here in the midwest and my lungs haven't adjusted yet I guess. My lungs got tight around the 2k mark and just wouldn't let me get a good breathe for the rest of the race. My legs felt good but the lactic acid built up quickly since the muscles weren't getting all the oxygen they needed. I ran good, the breathing never got really bad and I was able to finish in 21:05. I very happy with that and I think it still qualifies as a speed workout since I worked very hard to get that time even if the time itself wasn't as good as it could have been. It's all about effort I suppose. It's been a long time since I've had a full-on asthma attack. So long, in fact, that I couldn't find my inhaler when I went to get it. I had to buy one of those horrible Primetine mist thingys. I hate those things! They give me a headache and make me sick but at least they help me breathe.

In other news, I've decided not to run a marathon while I'm in California next weekend. My father is coming to town next week and will be leaving on Sunday so I just can't bring myself to leave before then. So I'll just get in some wonderfully warm runs in the high desert. At least it better be warm. Please make it warm while I'm there. Please.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Inspiration Sandwich

I ran tonight. Fast.

I've been reading a book called Inspiration Sandwich to my youngest clone for the past few weeks as a bedtime story. He picked it out of our bookshelf because it has wonderful colors on the cover and it looked like a children's book. After reading many of the chapters I've concluded that it is more of an adult book. Actually an adult-who-wants-to-be-a-child book. PERFECT Willie reading material! Wish I'd found this book years ago. The author's name is Sark and I may be in love with her. She has that wonderful childlike attitude that is so easy to love.

I'm traveling to California (again) for work and am considering jumping into a marathon while I'm out there. I have a link to on my desktop right beside my business travel arranger link. Anytime I get notice of a business trip the first thing I do is check for marathons in the area I'm going. I love that! I'm heading to the L.A. area this time and I have work on a Monday so it's the perfect opportunity to travel on a Friday or Saturday and run a Sunday marathon then head to my meetings on Monday. It just so happens that Malibu is having their marathon on the weekend of my travels. I'm very tempted. The only thing stopping me is the $143 entry fee! That's pretty steep even for a late entry. I hope they put wine in their gatorade, and not cheap Boones Farm wine either. I want the good stuff for that price.

I'll keep you posted on what I decide.

Tulsa marathon is in 2 weeks, Memphis in 4. If I run Malibu that would be 3 marathons within a months time. Marathon Maniacs here I come!!

Thanks for listening