Friday, December 30, 2011

6 months of wind

Hate running in the wind. Even this morning, first couple of miles were into the wind. It was a warm 44 degrees compared to yesterday's 28 degrees. Still it felt colder for the first mile or so, because of the freakin' wind. Don't know why suddenly the wind is such a big deal. Jeez, when I lived in Texas the wind blew all of the time. Don't remember it being such a nuisance.

Somewhere in the last couple of days, the running streak hit 6 months. Still going. That's about the only running related victory for the year. Every year most of the message boards have a thread about running accomplishments or PR's. Nothing for me. I've run a 50k, a few marathons, a couple of half marathons. Lucky to not have any running related injuries this year. No plans to let the streak end any time soon. Though the toughest running months of the year are coming up. January and February are usually the coldest months of the year.

Dylan ran last night in the fun run the Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation department sponsored. They had a pretty decent turnout, maybe 60 people. Good to see in Murfreesboro. I walked around in the opposite direction, hoping to run into Paula and her Dad, but missed them somehow. They took the inner loop around the pond. Surprised they haven't finished paving the road or making a parking lot.

Next race for Dylan will be the Zoo run. I'm running as well, but it won't be fast. Not enough time to squeeze in enough speed work in the next 3 weeks. Should still be a little bit of fitness from the marathon build up. The Fat Ass 50k, this Sunday shouldn't be more than a long training run. Only goal is to finish in less than 5 hours.

Friday, December 23, 2011

handcuffs behind Gentleman Jim's

That's no place to be 2 days before Christmas. That's not exactly what I was thinking when I saw the dude in cuffs surrounded by the 'boro's finest. Well, at least 3 squad cars worth. I was more worried they'd be wondering why I was running into the adjacent park. (it's a prime poop spot, just went all the way in the back, so I would know if they did notice me.) Wonder if he'll make the bizarro news? "A female employee of a local tattoo shop accidentally shot herself in the calf Thursday when she began to wipe a water ring off her desk and knocked a gun onto the floor, causing it to discharge."

The holiday season is in full stride. Didn't gain any weight over thanksgiving, but have managed to put on 3 pounds in the last week. It's the combination of fewer miles and lots more sweet foods. Not about to give up on any of the sweets. I'll burn all of this off on January 1 in the Fat Ass 50k. I've been practicing my ultra shuffle the last couple of runs.

Started looking at miles run for the year. Right now I'm at 2,482 miles with one more week to go. edit to add (I ended the year with 2,533 miles). Only biked for 365 miles. Most of that was after I broke my collarbone in May. About the same mileage as last years, 2,409. Most ever is still the year of the Pig in 2009 with 2,749.

Ran past the rubble of the old Murfreesboro hospital this morning. Such a shame that hardly any buildings from the 1800's are still standing. (the hospital was built in 1927) Even more disgusting is the demolition of a civil war era building for "spec" building space. Someone must have to much money if they can continue to build strip mall space when other spaces have been vacant for years.

Won't be able to make the "fun run" next thursday. Sadly, Murfreesboro doesn't seem to realize that 80% of the workforce commutes to Nashville every day. They can't make it back to town by 5:30, they'll still be stuck in traffic. At least they've got the trails and continue to build more. Maybe I can get someone to take Dylan, that's great stuff for the kids.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rocket City Race Report

Overslept by 20 minutes. Actually had the most peaceful sleep ever before a marathon. I didn't wake up once during the night. No tossing and turning. Usually I'd be up every hour or two. Guess sleeping in my own bed does the trick.

Paula and Dylan drove down with me. We had to make one stop, because I'd forgotten lube for my feet. Trip down wasn't bad, just at 2 hours. Hadn't checked the weather before we left, and surprised to find temperatures at 35 degrees. I'd thought it would be colder, but not quite as windy. It was overcast as well, which made it seem even colder.

Got my bib and found the W brothers. We all went up to their room to chill out for the hour before the start. I decided to go with shorts, calf sleeves, beanie hat, mittens, a compression long sleeve and another layer for the wind, an armless Fleet Feet t-shirt. Didn't wear my race ready shorts with pockets for my gels or succeed caps. I planned to carry them.

Left the hotel with about 15 minutes to go, because the lube that I just bought, I'd left in the van. Went back out to the van to lube up. Had all of my stuff ready to go and the cannon fired. Holy shit! I thought they'd started the race early and I still had one shoe off. Figured out quick enough that was just the start of the wheel chair race. Gathered up my gels and succeed caps and somehow lost 2. To late to get anymore. (mistake, should have grabbed 2 more) Jumped out of the van and jogged to the start.

Should have hung back in the van another 5 minutes or more. Last time I ran this race, I stayed in the hotel lobby until the masses moved to the start. Oh well. This did give me enough time, 10 freakin' minutes to go find a spot to take a leak. Found a loading dock adjacent to the start that was out of the wind. Talked with another masters runner who was running his first marathon. His half PR was a 1:14 and wasn't sure what to expect. Never saw him again.

From the gun, I decided my strategy would be to run as close to 6:49 as possible. When the wind was at my back a few seconds quicker. The first four miles were a loop around downtown and then back by the start for the stretch heading south. Mile 1-4 splits (6:50,6:51,6:36,6:43)

Met up with KC and we ran together for awhile. The 3:00 pacer was a no show. We knew once we made the turn around mile 15, the wind would be in our face. Saw JL ahead earlier and had thoughts of keeping him in sight, but wisely decided to let him creep on ahead. Mile 5-10 splits (6:41,6:48,6:46,6:53,6:52,6:57)

Seemed like we had a pretty good little pack together until about 10 miles. This part of the course is a slight downhill and the wind seemed to be at our backs, so I picked it up a smidge. According to the Garmin I was on a 6:47 average pace at this point. Hit the half way mark at 1:29:40 with 20 seconds in the bank. Mile 11-15 splits(6:44,6:49,6:52,6:54,6:59)

Mile 15 was the first slow mile, but it was into the wind, expected. The bigger surprise was the next mile a 7:34, yikes the wind was kicking my ass. Sucked it up and trudged on, but lost contact with the group. This is when my quads started tightening up. I hadn't taken any of my succeed caps. Dropped one when I took a gel. Didn't really think they would be a problem. I knew from the start that I only had 2, so I counted on taking one at about 18 miles and then another around mile 22. I had been drinking powerade/gatorade every other water stop and my gels were on schedule. Mile 16-22 splits (7:34,8:43,9:44,10:10,9:58,11:24,12:00)

Did the first walk at mile 17. Quads were tight and cramping but not locking completely. Continued this off and on for quite awhile. Tried to latch on when BQ1 went by and the same when his brother finally caught me. At mile 21, I stopped completely and drank at least 4-5 cups of powerade/gatorade. Another couple of miles of the run/walk before everything loosened up enough to slog the last 3 miles home. Might have helped to that the sun came out somewhere in the last hour. UGH. Mile 23-26 splits (10:52,8:37,8:36,8:16) and 7:34 pace for the .32 according to the Garmin. Only able to get to close to 8 minute mile pace after the cramping eased and able to run nonstop.

BQ1 finished in 3:09 (plus 3rd in age group). His brother continued the family tradition and qualified in his first marathon with a 3:14. DT got his qualifying time as well with a 3:17. Celebratory beers all around sure tasted great.

Cramping quads is a new one for me. Must have been the cold, wind and not enough sodium. Odd that the calves held out, but the sleeves really help there. The decision to stop completely at mile 21 was due to the cramping in my neck and jaw plus the quads. Probably looked like Dr. Jekyll because of the way I was holding my head.

(edited to add splits, after reading BQ1's log entry from his race)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Marathon mistakes

Rocket City1997AlabamaDNSITB band
Blue Angel 1998Florida3:49
Rocket City 1998Alabama3:49
Kiawah Island 1999South Carolina4:00 Calf strain
Dallas White Rock 2000Texas3:30
Kansas City 2000 Kansas DNF Achilles
Austin2001 Texas 3:23 left gels at start
Austin 2002 Texas 3:39 wore flats
Country Music 2003 Tennessee 3:33 heat and hills
Chicago 2003 Illinios 3:40 dehydration
Mid South 2004 Arkansas 3:37 dehydration
Rocket City 2004Alabama3:17Boston Qualifier
Boston 2005 Massachusetts 4:10 fueling
Flying Monkey 2008 Tennessee 3:50hills
Flying Pig 2009 Ohio 3:05 out to fast
Snickers 2011 Georgia DNF shoes
Greenway 2011 Tennessee 4:49 hills, cold

I've finished 15 marathons, started a couple and DNF'd (did not finish) and even had a couple of DNS (did not start). Looking back I've made lots of mistakes. Even when I ran my best marathon, I could have run smarter. For this sub 3:00 marathon attempt, I'm going to try and not make any of the same mistakes.

Going out to fast
Laid out the splits from my PR marathon at the Flying Pig. Even though this was a 12 minute PR, I didn't stick to the plan. Like most newbie marathon runners, I ran how I felt and the early miles felt great. It wasn't until the halfway point that I slowed down to planned marathon pace. To late at that point, because even though I thought I could pull off a sub 3:00 that day, I went out to fast for the first 6 miles for even that time. I gave up 2:30 in the back half of that race. Not my worst crash and burn, actually it was the closest to even splits of any of my marathons.

Trying something new on race day
Ugliest example of this was the Austin marathon. I decided racing flats would shave some extra seconds off my time. The final 6 miles of this marathon were torture. I could see the blood coming out of my flats with each foot strike. When I finished and took off my shoe, the one toe was a big bloody mess. Actually had a repeat of this at the Snickers marathon, not quite as dramatic, but a whole lot earlier in the race. Caused my second DNF.

Time in the bank doesn't work
Tried this strategy for most of my early marathons. Never did work. Goes back to the going out to fast.

Adjust for the conditions
I've only run a couple of marathons that were to warm for me to run at my potential. 60 degrees or warmer and I need to slow down. Sometimes, it just makes sense to not go for the fast time. I've accepted that a DNF or DNS is the smart choice on some occasions. The DNF at Kansas City really should have been a DNS. I finished Kiawah with a calf strain, that should have been a DNF.

I picked the Rocket City marathon for several reasons. It's a fast course. Mostly because it's pretty flat. One little rise at around 18 miles, but no real hills. Weather is usually cooler without much chance of a warm day, versus a spring marathon. It's a small field, no half marathoners to dodge or run around. It's close (2 hour drive), I'll be sleeping in my own bed. This is the 35th year, they know what they're doing. Nice to finish and go inside to eat and relax afterwards.