My first DNF

May 26, 2008

This morning, I attempted to run the Darkside Running Clubs 3M marathon. This is a small (~15 people) race in Peachtree city. The 3M stands for Monday Morning Marathon, and they have one on Memorial day and another on Labor Day. It’s billed as race where you show up, they give you a course.

I’ve been looking forward to this for a couple months, since it just sounded exciting and the Darkside members sound like interesting folks. This proved to be true, as we pulled up and noticed on Scott’s truck there was “134.4” sticker. Roman asked, and he responded with “I got tired of seeing all the 26.2 stickers, so I had my own made.” Hilarious!

We hung out for a few minutes, the course was described and we walked to the starting line. It was low key, where everyone looked at their watch and someone said “lets go”. So, off we went.

I hung with the lead group for the first couple miles, not so much because I wanted to go fast, but I was afraid of getting lost and I wanted to try to make one lap with someone in site. Eventually I decided they were going too fast, and I dropped down to my speed.

The course was very comfortable…it was all flat, something I didn’t know was possible in this state. It was along a multi-use path that would throughout the community. Peachtree City is a golf cart community, and there were plenty of golf carts cruising around. At one point, I saw a caravan of about 30 of them heading towards the city center for the Memorial Day parade. The course was marked with chalk, and I managed to not get lost.

One neat thing was little tunnels going under the roads. I couldn’t help myself for a while, and felt the need to talk in them just to hear the echo.

A tunnel going under a road.

There was plenty of little lakes we went around, and lots of people fishing. In the morning, it looked nice with steam coming off the water.

The lake.

Okay, enough of the site seeing and back to the race. The course was 5 laps. The first one we all went the same direction, and the others everyone could go either way. This provided us a chance to have a change of scenery, and high-five each other as we saw each other. Everything was on the honor system. (Number of laps completed and time. Grab a finishers medal if you complete them all, and leave your name.)

Now, as I mentioned in the title, I didn’t finish this race. That’s okay, I didn’t think I would. Due to the knee problems I’ve been dealing with, I haven’t been training much. (I think for this month until today, I only had 48 miles logged. That’s definitely not the type of miles to complete a marathon.)  My plan was to do as much as I could, and finish about the same time as Roman (whom I carpooled with). I was hoping he wouldn’t lap me too many times, and was successful there, since he only passed once. I managed to finish lap 3 about 5 minutes before he finished his last one.

My first lap, after running the first couple miles (at about 9 minute miles), I slowed and started mixing in walking. I finished in 1:07, which isn’t bad for just over 5.2 miles. Overall, I felt pretty good during this one.

The second lap, I mainly race walked, and mixed some running in as I needed to stretch my legs. It took me just a little longer, at 1:15. Toward the end of this, my knee started hurting, but not too bad of a slow down.

My third lap was race walking the entire way. (Until I had to slow down for moments because my knee was hurting.) About half way around, my knee felt pretty bad and I definitely slowed down. Amazingly to me, I did this lap in 1:15 also, only 8 seconds difference from the second lap. (But to be fair, some time was wasted in lap 2 looking for an appropriate bush to borrow.)

I\'m at the rest stop

I was real happy with these times. If I come back for the next one, I may consider race walking the whole course. Because it’s so flat, it’s a perfect course for it.

One thing I tried new this time was using a “Buff” to keep the sun off my head. I thought it worked good, and I got the cool pirates look, which is almost like having a costume. Even through they are known from Survivor, at no time during this race did I have to win immunity or eat bugs.


Walking on…

May 17, 2008

Bet y’all thought I’d have nothing to say about walking? Well, there is plenty to say, but I’ve been a bit busy.

I’ve headed out a few times during lunch this week and managed some miles walking. It’s definitely a different pace than I’ve been doing. I’m doing 13-14 minute miles, in sort of a not-quite-trot/not-quite-walk gait.

I forgot that this uses a completely different set of muscles. The first day out, my shins hurt a bit, which is pretty common for walking. Its from stretching the shins a bit and foot flex, and will go away in a while. The second day, I mainly worked on using my abs. Oh, I felt like I got a bit more of a workout there than I have in a while! I’m guessing that if I keep this up, I’ll be looking good by next summer.

As I mentioned in my last post, a few years ago, I walked the NYC marathon. As I was preparing for that, some people online mentioned I should go to the NW Annual Race Walking Clinic, put on by Erofit, in Portland Oregon. It was a 2.5 day event, where Phillip Dunn, a member of the 2004 Olympic team, was a guest coach along with a few other very talented walking coaches (Kelly and John). (If anyone is interesting, I have a recap of the retreat somewhere.)

One interesting side note is that although the marathon gets most the attention, the 50K race walk is the longest distance event in the Olympics. And unlike running, the participates are scrutinized by judges almost every step of the way. (Well, maybe the runners are scrutinized too, but there are no rules like the race walkers get.) And, as you can see from reading Phillip’s journal, all this walking really is good cross training for running.

So, although I’ve never become an expert at this, at least I have some knowledge of the sport and what I’m doing. After this first week, I’m still excited by changing to walking. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow when I try to get some distance work in. (After all, I am still planning to do a marathon in a week.)

Accidents Happen

May 13, 2008

(Note: This is the article for this months RunnersFit newsletter.)

They say that most accidents happen within five miles of home – but usually the victim knows what caused the accident. That was not the case for my dear friend Left Knee (LK for short). The accident happened about three weeks ago while on a casual run down the street, but the details are a bit sketchy.

About three miles into an eight mile run, LK started to complain a bit. By the end of the eight miles, LK was feeling pretty stiff. After a few days rest, LK tried a short run, but, was sadly still sore.

It has now been a couple of weeks, and after fighting through a cold, LK is still having some serious issues. So, after consulting with the rest of the ‘family’ (Right Knee, Feet, & Head), LK has decided to try walking instead of running for a while.

Now, y’all don’t need to feel sad. The whole ‘family’ is actually quite used to walking, and we usually enjoy it. As a matter of fact, a few years ago, we walked the NYC marathon. All 26.2 miles were spent with at least one foot on the ground at all times.

(That’s a bad race walking joke, since one of the rules of the sport is that one foot must be in contact with the ground at all times… and this would be the point where my wife likes to remind me that if you have to explain a joke, it probably wasn’t that funny But that’s a whole different story.)

Now, there are plenty of advantages to walking. The biggest, besides LK not complaining, is that the rest of the ‘family’ stays happy too. After that jaunt through New York, the ‘family’ walked all around the city for days afterwards with very few complaints.

The one drawback is that the pace is a little slower, but not enough to keep the ‘family’ home. To date, our fastest recorded race-walking pace is a 12:16 mile, which isn’t much slower than my running pace. But, as everyone knows, for us, it’s never about speed, it’s just about being out there.

Now, some have called us “nerdy” for knowing how to race walk. But even they are impressed with the speed at which we can move, and our great race walking form. And we think it’s important to be able to adapt to changing circumstances, plus it’s fun to laugh at ourselves. Plus, if we call this “cross-training”, it will be new, exciting, and good.

It just goes to show, you can’t keep a good knee down.

Not a SweetH2O race report

May 2, 2008

Last weekend, I didn’t run the SweetH20 race. Not the 50K, not the 1/2 marathon. However, looking at the history of visitors, a number of people fould me because they were looking for that, and I mentioned it in my post about the ChickEkiden.

However, in honor of those that did run it, I made some SweetH2O Whole Wheat Beer Bread. And man, was it good. Here’s the recipe (originally found at

    • 1.5 cups All Purpose flour
    • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
    • 4.5 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1.5 teaspoons salt
    • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 bottle or can of beer (12 oz)
    • Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Grease a loaf pan (i.e. spray with non-stick spray) and heat the over to 350
  • Combine dry ingredients.
  • Pour in beer. Enjoy the fizzle it makes. Stir until a stiff batter is formed. You may mix with your hands to do a better job of it.
  • Pour into pan and bake for 5-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Now, I used a bottle of Sweetwater 420 beer. It’s one of only a couple local microbrews, and is pretty good. (As everyone knows, although I’m not a big drinker, I do enjoy good beer. Coming from Seattle, I miss the locals. I’ve even thought about becoming a beer seller just so I can get myself some Mac And Jacks African Amber and maybe a bit of Pyramid or RedHook. But I digress…)

This is a pretty hearty bread, dense and a bit chewy. Worked well warm with butter or with peanut butter. I think after a good run, it would probably hit the spot. Matter of fact, I may go make some just to bring tomorrow to find out…

Now, who’s going to bring the coffee? Have I mentioned I moved here from Seattle, where there is a Starbucks on every corner? And plenty of other coffee shops? Hmmmm…..