29 Cubed – the first half

February 29, 2008

The day started well enough. I slept in a bit, then hit Starbucks and ran an errand. The goal was to start at noon, do eight miles, then meet Roman at 5 to do another 8.
After checking my email and the status of everyone else running the challenge, I was eager to get started. The folks across the Atlantic were up into the 20 mile range already, so after running my errands, I decided to start a bit earlier, about 10:30. My first miles were going to be at Little Mulberry, here it’s a pretty flat 2.2 mile loop.  I strapped on my new racing flats, and away I went.

Although I had every intention of starting slow, it just didn’t work that way. My first mile was just over 10 minutes (2 minutes faster than plan), as was my second mile. As I headed into the third, I slowed slightly and took it easy. It was a very strange experience hitting three miles and saying to myself “only a marathon to go.”  A very cool feeling.

During that 3rd mile, I came upon a couple old ladies strutting around and having a good time. I said hi as I came around, then each time we saw each other (another 3 times), we got to joke around how they were beating me. I stopped at mile 4.4 for refuel. I’ve become a believer in these Powerbar gels…I felt real good starting up again.

Anyway, I finished 8.8 miles with no problems, then headed home for lunch and stretching. Had a good time catching up with everyone else online. The virtual camaraderie for this race has been great. Everyone has been very supportive of each other.

Come 3:00 PM, I headed out (early again) to head to the meet up. Being early, I indulged myself and bought a case of the Powerbar gels. Figured I might as well stock up, and it’s cheaper to buy them by the case. Then I went to my car to change shirt and realized that I forgot it at home. Well, I sure as hell wasn’t going to run in a cotton shirt, and didn’t feel like spending 30 bucks on a new one, so I just put on my vest sans shirt and went redneck style. (Being a vest, it has that whole wife-beater look to it.) Luckily, it was warm out, and actually quite comfortable.

I took off to start warming up while I waited for Roman. Hit a 1.33 miles as I saw him pulling up, so finished up. After a little bit of socialization and a quick picture, we took off. We hung together for the first mile at a 10 mpm pace, then separated so he could finish in a reasonable time. (He runs quite a bit faster than me.) I turned around at the 2.5 mile (from the store) to head back, figuring he’d catch up. At this point, it was going on mile 14 or so from me, and I started to feel it. After a nice walk for a few minutes, I got my wind back and casually made it back to the store.

Roman made it back, then we headed out again. I just did a mile with him, again at a faster pace than I’d do, then headed back. Total miles for the day, 17 and some change.

Just a casual 1/2 merry in the morning, and I’ve done it.

As a side note, here’s some of what’s come of this race:
Sare, in the United Kingdom, has raised over 400 pounds($800+ dollars) for a <a href=”http://www.justgiving.com/sarah29&#8243; title=””>charity she supports</a>.
Both RicC and Sare both braved torrential downpours winds to complete their mileage. They have also both been interviewed by their local press and are now famous.
Ande, in Australia, tragically burned out his treadmill and had to run outside. I think he’ll be okay.
Everone else has been doing great, and I look forward to hearing their stories.


Race Week Buildup

February 28, 2008

It never fails. Every time a big event comes up, one starts to notice every little thing that will impact it. So far, my week has been something like so:

Sunday:

  • Get in last long run. That felt great, so I’ll even stretch afterwards to make sure the muscles don’t start aching later. Aaaaah…
  • Plan meals for week: Honey, what are we having for dinner? I don’t care-I was thinking pasta on Thursday, maybe Wednesday too.
  • Do some more stretching in the evening. Hey, is that a twinge I feel in my ankle?

Monday:

  • Wake up. Damn I ankle hurts, I can barely walk. Hobble to bathroom and get ready for work. Might as well take workout clothes in case it feels better.
  • Limp around work all morning. Dang, it still hurts, and no one is feeling sympathy for me and bringing me coffee. Guess I’ll skip the working, but I can get in some quality Hostess Cupcake therapy in after lunch.
  • Stretch and ice in the evening. Well, usually when this happens it’s fine the next day.

Tuesday

  • Wake up. Okay, I can walk to the bathroom without much difficulty, so I guess I’m healed.
  • Hmmm…skip lunchtime workout again, just to be safe. Indulge in more Hostess Cupcake therapy, that must have helped. Plus, it’s cold out. When did that happen?
  • Go to the Tuesday bowling league and whine about ankle. Tell everyone how I’m going to suck tonight, then throw one of my best games ever. Get cocky, throw next to worst game ever and whine about ankle some more. Get head out of ass and throw a decent third game.

Wednesday

  • Wake up. Almost no pain in ankle..cool. Head to work. Shit! There’s snow flurries-that’s going to screw my run. Calm down, listen to radio…okay, should be 60 on Friday and Saturday. We’re okay.
  • Go for easy run on treadmill at lunch. Hmmm…that wasn’t bad. Crank up speed a little…okay, I’m good to go. Go change. Eye scale. Nah…that would just depress me. What the hell was I thinking with those cupcakes?
  • Come up with plan for run. If I can maintain 5 mph, it will only take 6 hours. That’s easily under the 29 hour limit. Yeah…that’s the ticket…Only 6 measly hours
  • Uh oh…is that a crink in my back? Maybe I need to make to the chiropractor…

Thursday

  • Wake up. Ankle okay. Back okay. Whew!
  • Dang. 22 degress out…it better warm up. Hmmm…my nose is a bit stuffy. Maybe I’m getting a cold. Well, I should be able to run through that…
  • Okay, lunchtime workout was good. Maybe I should revise my plan. I can go faster! Set a PR! Wooo hah! (uh, no. that’s probably a bad idea–lets see how it goes.)

Last big push before the big weekend

February 24, 2008

Next weekend if going to be busy with the 29 cubed race and the Thrill in the Hills 1/2 marathon.
Naturally, I figured I should get some last long miles in and stuff like that.

Saturday afternoon, I shot up to Runners Fit in Braselton to pick up some supplies and chat about the race from that morning (that I couldn’t make it too). Although Ryan claimed he ran like a girl and it was he slowest time since 7th grade, he still came in 2nd in his group. Jenny pulled out 3rd in her group. A shoutout goes to Mark B for a personal best, breaking the 30 minute mark for the 5k! Way to go!

After trying just about every racing flat they had, I got some Adidas Zero LT2. I would have preferred some Brooks (my usual favorite shoe), but the toe box on them were a little small. (Unfortunately, they were out of the next size up, which probably would have been fine.) There was some bright green Asics that were just my style, but at almost $20 more than the Adidas, my wallet won. I also got some powerglide and a couple Powerbar gels to try. They hooked me up with a Runners Fit T-shirt to wear on Saturday.
(Our whole group will be wearing these to show our support of our favorite store. Last year they sponsored this race, but this year got tossed aside to a larger store from downtown Atlanta. Given that Ryan will be one of the top finishers and I anticipate being one of the last, we’ll have lots of visibility.)

I then did a casual 5 miles at Little Mulberry park. It was cold and windy, so I was happy to end it early and get home to my wife.

Today (Sunday), we didn’t have a group run planned and I wanted to get more than 10 miles in, so I headed off to do the trails at Little Mulberry (again). I took off from the Hog Mountain entrance and had a tough first mile because the cold and wind. After veering off to hit the horse trail, I quickly warmed up by heading uphill. Across the ridge, then up “The Hill”, and I was definitely warm! At the top, I hung a left on the East Meadow trail (instead of the usual right). From here I hit the little 1/2 mile loop trail around the small pond.

After pausing to play with a dog and a quick rest stop, I tried my first Powerbar gel. It wasn’t too bad and went down smooth. From there, I headed up to the Ravine trail, but I didn’t want to kill myself, so I just did a small section of it to a connector back to the West Meadow loop. This still gave me a good section of hills, but felt pretty good. Heading around, I ran into Helen and her dog (from our group), and walked with her a ways. She’s a fast walker, so I had to start running to keep up and then leave her. I came back around and did the reverse of what I did around the top to get me to the remainder of the dirt loop.

Heading back down the dirt trail felt pretty good and I started picking up a little speed. I crossed the carriage trail and started heading back up, with was a bit hard. However, once I got back to the top and started heading down, I was feeling good. after a little bit of flat and a bite of my Powerbar, I hit the next downhill section and had an absolute blast! To was a harrowing thrill ride down the side of the mountain…I would having been hooting and hollering the whole way down if I weren’t so concerned about actually breathing (and not falling flat on my face)! Oh, it was great! I’m sooo glad last week I decided to start stretching myself on downhills.

A casual 1.2 miles back to the car, some stretching, and I guess I’ll take it easy until next Friday. Total distance was around 11.5 miles per my Nike+. A little less than I wanted, but given the hills, I feel like I got a good run into it.


Spirit of the Marathon

February 22, 2008

Last night, some or our jolly gang ventured to the movies to see the encore presentation of The Spirit Of The Marathon.
Back in January when this movie was shown as a one time presentation, it got great reviews and was sold out across the country, so naturally, they did an encore presentation. It’s a look at 6 people getting ready to run the Chicago marathon, from first timer’s to world class elite runners.

Ah, where to start…To get in the right frame of mind, three of us met for pizza and beer. I know all my friends from Seattle will never speak to me again, but we drank Bud Light. I can’t even remember if it had any flavor, but at $5 a pitcher, I guess the price was right. On a side note, one thing that makes me laugh every time I go out I ask what’s on tap. The response I get is always some mass produced beer spoken of reverently, like it’s the best in the world. I’m sorry, but 95% of the time, it the choices just don’t make the grade and I end up getting a diet Coke. Anyway, we hung out for an hour talking about running and other stuff. Roman had just run the Myrtle Beach marathon the weekend before, so we spoke of that. If it fits into the calendar next year, I think I’ll have to do it. (I’ll let him post is race report to give the reasons why.)

After rushing over to the theater, we met up with the other 2 members of our group and proceeded to the theater. A couple girls were handing out some Team In Training brochures. Cool, but some coupons for Active.com or something would have been great, since we walked into an Active commercial playing. Our noble leader led us to the nose bleed seats and we settled in. The theater wasn’t more than 1/2 full and no one else was too close to us.

The movie itself was good. Better than other marathon documentaries that I’ve seen and a full gambit of emotions came through. I’ve seen other reviews where people got choked up during certain scenes, but I never did. But that could be because we were having too much fun with our own running commentary. Sitting with a group of runners, we’ve all been through everything they’ve shown, so we felt free to inject appropriate comments as needed.

The race coverage was good, including some great shots of the start.

After the credits, they showed some extras (that I suppose will be on the DVD). Most of the people had left, so we had the place mostly to ourself. Without ruining anything, we now know Deena Kastor’s secret ingredient for avocado enchiladas. (Deena, just to let you you, it’s not a secret anymore. Sorry.)

The “rock throwing” deleted scene was great, possibly one of the best parts of the movie in my opinion.

Overall, I’d say to go see this movie in a theater where you have a mass of people around you to get into the mood. Or if you rent it, be sure to invite your friends over to watch it so you can talk and enjoy it together.


I lost game!

February 19, 2008

Tonights bowling was pretty bad. This entry is nothing but me whining. I threw a 100, 98, and 116. At least the last game was over my average.

Although to late into the night, I found out I wasn’t keeping my shoulders square to the lane, which was causing my whole throw to be off. And I was getting no hook until the last game.

At least I didn’t mess my knee up, which I’ve been doing a lot lately by over rotating my sliding foot.

But the good news is my sister-in-law gave me my birthday present-a bowling shirt! Yay. Ever since joining the team, I’ve been complaining that we don’t have team shirts…after all, I always thought that was the point of being on a bowling team was to get cool shirts. Well, now I have a shirt, even if the rest of the team doesn’t. She also said she’ll get my name embroidered on it if I want. Cool, just need a good bowling nickname now. (“Big Ball” and “Dead Wood” were thrown around. Hey you! Get your mind out of the gutter. That’s bowling talk.)

Guess that’s about it until the next time I get to talk about having gone somewhere.


A post for the week

February 18, 2008

A cold weeks roundup.
Saturday started with a cold (around 34 degrees) run in Braselton. We had a large turn-out, 14 people I think it was, which may be the most we’ve had. We ran the Chateau Elan route. I did 6 miles, and had company for a good portion of it.

The first mile was a bit fast for me, at 9:32, but it carried over well and I finished pretty strong. My leg nerve problems didn’t pop up until the last 1/2 mile or so, and that was quite nice. I credit some of this to the fact that I’ve been doing a lot of extra stretching every evening. I’ll be sure to keep it up.

Come Sunday morning, 9 of us braved the slightly warmer (39 degrees) morning to run the trails at Fort Yargo. This is where the Thrill in the Hills 1/2 marathon was held last year, and as some of us debate whether to run it this year, we thought we’d run the course.

My goal was to get about 2 hours/10 miles in. I’m working on building up for the ING Georgia race at the end of March, and just need to put the miles in. Ryan R (who’s also training for ING) had enough to foresight to print up maps and put them in cases (big baggies). We came up with a tentative route and headed out.

The trails were great! It’s mostly single track that has a decent set of rocks and roots to trip the unwary. A number of the loops have detours, which came in quite handy. We all stayed mostly together because the faster people did the full route and the slower (me) took the detours.

Unfortunately, Ryan R twisted his ankle about 2 miles in, so he turned around and casually hobbled back to the cars to nap recover. Because of this, I was thinking of starting to call him OR (either Operating Room or Other Ryan), but I don’t think it will take since it doesn’t roll off the tongue. Will have to give it more thought…

Because of new trails that have been built since the maps were made, I think everyone got lost at least once…but that’s half the fun. The worst was Brad and Roman, who ended up doing an extra few miles by circling halfway around the lake a second time.

In the end, I was out there for an hour and fifty something minutes and did just under 9 miles. Another group did 11.5 miles per their GPS, and the Brad/Roman team probably did a bit more than that.

In the afternoon, a number of people from the Saturday group went bowling. Us non-runners wanted the pleasure of beating someone, and we put them in there places. I got a new high, 177! Yay for me!


The wee adventure of running

February 17, 2008

I recently ran across this article on CompleteRunning.com that made me laugh. Its about the need to pee during long (and not so long) distance runs. The reason I laugh is because, well, because it’s funny. It’s a natural thing we all have to deal with. (And yes, I’m older than 13. At that age, I probably would have just been embarrassed.) So, I thought I’d share my peeing stories.

When I ran the New York marathon in 2004, one thing I was looking forward to was seeing something they actually talk about in their brochure: The worlds longest urinal. Now, I went there expecting a huge ceramic bowl or something. Okay, really I had no preconceived notions, but hey, you gotta be curious what it’s going to be, and since you have a few hours to waste between getting off the bus and the race starting, you might as well look at everything. After finding it, I was a bit disappointed that it was a bunch of PVC 1/2 pipe connected together with duct tape going down a gentle slope to a collection bucket at the bottom. As I stood there, verifying that it actually works, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy that had to tear it down after we left.

Last year, when I ran the ING Georgia half marathon, I saw a number of people stopping in one alley to go. Being the civilized gent I am, I decided to pass on this (plus I was making good time at the moment). But later one, I came upon some potta-potties that all had long lines. However, behind them, the guys were using the bushes, so I went ahead do did my duty there. In talking about it later with someone online, I mentioned this being a highlight. They promptly made the comment that I must have never been camping before since peeing in bush was a big deal. Well, I pointed out, I’ve been camping plenty (and being in the army, I’ve spent plenty of time in the field). However, is what made this special was the fact it was overlooking a freeway offramp. Yeah, I’m easily entertained sometimes. (And he conceded that this did make it a bit different.)

So, what are your stories? Come on, don’t be embarrassed…we’re all grown-ups.