Sunday, January 31, 2010

Running on Empty

What I forgot at my last run…

Most runners have their checklist of items to run through the night before a big race. The bigger the race, the more times you run through the checklist. At my last marathon, I actually packed and had three pairs of gloves laid out the night before, and I still wore the wrong pair.

With Boston roughly 10 weeks away, I was looking forward to this last Saturday’s long run. The pre-run social mingling was a reminder of what to pack for the Saturday run as one of the female runners had everything on, but the heavy North Face parka and Uggs seemed out of place as we started to huddle in our pace groups. She confessed that she forgot her shoes. Fate intervened as she’d been sick all week and merely cheered on runners as we took off with our groups.

Feeling “big for my britches” I took off with the fastest pace group, the 3:10 (expected marathon finish time) group. Runner’s Edge of the Rockies serves runners of all ages and speed. I’d moved up from the 3:30 group to the 3:10 group in January. There are clearly a few elite runners that take off at a much faster pace than even the 3:10 group. Prior to our Saturday run there were a couple new runners that showed up. Based on the Boston apparel and runner’s build, I sensed that there were a few new Gazelles that showed

up for the run. 80's Nuggets vs. Lakers...“I’m not worthy…”

As the 3:10 group left, there was no warm-up for the speedsters as they took off and I felt flatfooted like I had taken a six month layoff. Two turns into the course they were out of site. I accepted my position as something far less than an elite runner. I'm okay with that but I felt like I didn’t quite have the energy that day…no mojo…no running out way too fast as I often do. I clearly didn’t have my energy that early morning—what was wrong? It was perfect running weather (cool…not sub zero,) not too much snow or ice on the trail, a new route (always good,) and I seemed to remember everything; Garmin, Skins, long run wool socks, heavy gloves, hat, my scratched Nike running shades, and a couple options for keeping me warm on the cold run.

My previous “what I forgot” moment was Body Glide on the long run. Let’s just say there’s a runner’s formula; Cold Run + Long Run minus Body Glide = Sore Nipples. Email me if you don’t quite understand that one…I think you get it.

The training week prior to the long run went quite well…in fact, I may have overdone it. With the notion of running Boston a mere 10 weeks away, the adrenaline is getting the best of me—running way too fast, and not exactly following the spreadsheet that maps out each run every day over 16 weeks. I had two hill runs this week—the plan only called for one. Flu bugs have been swirling around the office and I’d seemed to “dodge the bullet.”

I’d convinced myself the night before that I felt okay…I didn’t. Waking up Saturday morning, I didn’t feel quite right. One of the “Golden Rules” of running is listen to your body…if you’re hurt, don’t run, if you’re sick beyond a cold, don’t run, and rest when you need to. Perhaps a signal to stick to the plan and listen to the body.

By the way…the two items I forgot on Saturday’s run; my gas station pre-race elixir “Five Hour Energy,” and my Power Balance bracelet that I discovered on my nightstand at home when I returned. Similar to Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction who couldn’t leave town without his gold watch, I can’t seem to run without the kryptonite bracelet.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

Subtitled; “Close but no Cigar.”

As chronicled here before, I stumbled into running and actually spent the first several months running purely on a treadmill before discovering there are people that actually run outdoors (this was back in ’99.)

My mistake (if you could call it that) was entering a race and picking up hardware in my first ever race. Granted it was a small race (less than 1000,) but I apparently had years of running pent up in my system and picked up a 2nd place in my division in a 5k race.

Little did I know there was actually a post race ritual of bagels, bananas, potential massage tents, war story sharing, and awards. Being na├»ve about the whole thing, I finished the race and left immediately. My only shot at hearing my name blasted over the megaphone went to waste as I was on my way home when the announcement went out…(“Bueller…Bueller…Bueller?)

The mistake was thinking I would certainly pick up more trophies along the way. Ten years later, the “Run the Rock” 2nd place trophy is my one and only. It has moved twice and suffered a chip and epoxy repair.

With my running group, Runner’s Edge of the Rockies, between the winter maintenance session and the start of spring training, the group had an idle weekend and I was going through running and race withdrawal. I was jones’in for something to provide a running “fix” on Saturday through running friends on Facebook and Daily Mile. I was going through all the obvious signs of withdrawal…trolling for a race and pinging my running buddies for a long run that wasn’t by myself.

I discovered there’s a 5 mile and 10 mile Frosty Run at Chatfield Reservoir. the 10, fulfill the long run weekend commitment and I’m thinking in the back of my mind…”maybe it will be crappy weather, low attendance and I could place in a decent spot.”

With my last marathon (CIM,) barely “under my belt,” I was still feeling fast. On race day, I broke all advice and came out of the gates way too fast. I finished the five mile mark in 35 minutes which is fast for me—a seven minute pace. The second half of the course presented more hills and my nemesis—WIND. I finished with a 1:12:28. My mistake in this race was thinking that a 1:14 would place me “in the money.”

The problem is there are apparently a lot of 40 something men who are some pretty fast dudes. Fourth place in my division. I should feel good about a 7:14 pace in a 10 mile race (my third PR in as many months—I’ve set PR’s in ½ marathon, marathon and now in a 10 mile race.) Perhaps I have an unhealthy balance of competition in my blood?

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand I’ll have to wait for the next small race to try and pick up the hardware. Nevertheless, a good first trimester race tune-up for Boston in April.

Follow Ty's quest for his first Boston Marathon at;

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Running with a purpose

Most runners like myself are goal oriented. Having the ability to run for 3-4 hours without stopping and covering 26.2 miles does not come without setting goals and executing on a daily and weekly plan to condition the body for race day.

As I’ve documented on my blog, qualifying for the Boston Marathon has been a long time goal of mine that has finally been realized. Surviving training without injury (knock on wood) and running the Boston Marathon is now the goal I'm tracking through my spreadsheet log and Daily Mile website. Running the marathon itself has brought on additional meaning as I’ve added another goal to raise $4,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society along with the Boston Chapter of Team in Training.

For those not familiar with Leukemia, an
estimated 912,938 people in the United States are living with, or are in remission from, leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma or myeloma. Every four minutes, someone new is diagnosed with blood cancer. Every 10 minutes, someone dies. Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children under the age of 20. Lymphomas are the most common blood cancers and incidence increases with age. The survival rate for myeloma is only 37.1 percent.

Learning about this disease definitely puts things into perspective as I feel fortunate to be healthy enough to go through the rigorous training regimen and be able to enjoy the highs of a good run or race. As I’ve begun the fund raising portion of Boston, I have got some great feedback on the cause including;

(Kathleen from Denver) “I'm hoping your brother does well in the race- it isnt't an easy one, I did donate in his name- 2 reasons- first and most important- my cousin died from leukemia, second I'm from just north of Boston,,,,,,,,,best wishes to your brother- it is not easy to qualify, and more try for others is incredible..... thank him for me and many others!”

(Nick from Dallas) “Great cause! My grandfather (my 2nd dad) fought and lost to Leukemia. Good luck in the fundraising and in your quest for the Boston Marathon!...I'm impressed (and a bit jealous) of your determine and accomplishments. Congrats and good luck!”

Wow!...that is extra motivation.

I will continue to blog and tweet on my fund raising efforts and training as I am a mere three months away from Boston. It’s good to have goals and even better to achieve them.

Please pass this blog along or go to my contribution page (below) to help this worthy cause.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ten Things that Didn't work in My Last Race

The sequel to my last blog of the 10 things that worked, this is the ten things that didn't work in my last marathon at Sacramento's California International Marathon.

1) The pace tattoo that they handed out at the pacing tent was waaaay too small. Thanks for providing them, but make them large enough to read. I didn’t bring my glasses along for the race.

2) The hot tub at the hotel was not hot nor did it provide jets. I had the hot tub mapped out as one of my last activities the night before. Talk about a cold shower.

3) My family has a ritual of writing inspirations on my arms and legs to help me through the later miles and with my name branded on one of my limbs, I’ll get the occasional race day spectator yell out my name—you have no idea how much that helps. My mistake was forgetting the Sharpie at home, then settling for a Walmart supposedly permanent marker. My wife covered my arms the night before with the ritual sayings. I woke up in the morning and half the ink was on the bed. The other half melted during the run, so I didn’t get a single, “looking good Ty!” throughout the race.

4) The item I was supposed to buy at Walmart, but forgot was the toenail clippers. I feared the left big toenail was a tad too long to run a marathon and I was correct. My Asics were the right size, but the big toe toenail being too long combined with some downhill running was not a good combo. My toe resembled a plum by race end, but I have the "I lost my toenail in a marathon" badge of honor.

5) The expo was like a disappointing Christmas. Much anticipation, but wound up walking away like I got a sweater I would never wear vs. a really cool toy. This is the first time I ever did NOT buy a event shirt or jacket. Very disappointing on the apparel front. As a race I qualified for Boston, I was prepared to open the wallet and drop the cash on the really cool running jacket or zippered running shirt, but settled for a hat.

6) As I wrote in my blog, I had the ritual pasta dinner the night before. Not sure if it was the food or the nerves, but my stomach was slightly off before going to bed. Not thinking, I took a Pepto Bismol. It did the trick, but worked too well. Race day morning, my bathroom ritual didn’t go as planned. Pepto doesn’t make you go, it makes you stop. Thankfully, I finally took care of business at the porto-potty minutes before the start. Whew!

7) Gloves. I brought three pairs; heavy, disposable, and light. I opted for light. Race day temps were as low as 27 degrees at the start. The light gloves did okay for awhile, but the right glove started to get wet due to the water station refueling. At one point, my hands were warm enough to take them off and wound up tossing them to my wife at mile 13. Cold winds made me wish I wore the heavy ones and held on to them for the whole race. My hands were freezing at the end.

8) Phantom rock at mile 22? As my legs grew a tad weary, I took a nice tumble and roll somewhere around mile 22. I was too tired to turn around and look at what tripped me like most people do that stumble over a lip in the sidewalk. I had a brief moment of panic that this could have cost me the race should I have jacked up a wheel in the process.

9) I didn’t get to thank my pace group leader, Peter, for helping me hit my goal of qualifying for the Boston marathon. I dropped him a note on his YouTube video promoting Clif's pace groups.

10) I didn’t get to meet the Governator, but "I'll be back."

About Me

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine