Where ideas come from

June 1, 2008

As you know, last weekend I had some serious knee problems. Getting up on Tuesday, my knee was still throbbing enough that I decided to take the week off. (I did some stretching, but no running or walking.)

Now, this is all well and good, but without actually doing anything, a couple things happen:

  • I put in an extra few hours into work, since I don’t take much of a lunch break if I’m not working out. My boss loves this, and doing it occassionally doesn’t bug me. However, I start to get grumpy, because I’m not burning any physical energy off.
  • Being at my desk, or at home, or anywhere else, since I haven’t done anything, I tend to daydream about doing something. These “ideas” pop in my head, and things start happening.

It’s the second bullet that’s more interesting. It was one of these idea’s last January that led to the 29 Cubed challenge, where I thought it would be a good idea to do 29 miles in 29 hours on February 29th. As we all know, that came out a raving success, with a people around the world joining in and completing it.

This last two weeks have generated two new ideas. The first is, on the last weekend of June, we should go out and do some sort of crazy miles. I was thinking of 36, since a race that’s tenatively planned in September involves that mileage. And, conveniently enough, there is a local trail that is 6 miles, so doing 6 laps seems reasonable. Now, this idea is still in formation, and may be put on hold because of my knee problems.

The second idea is all about my knee and the Darkside marathon course. Because the course is essentially flat, it’s perfect for walking. And by walking, I don’t mean a leisurely stroll around the park, I mean race walking. Fast, funny looking, and smoking by slow runners (such as myself when I run).

The next 3M race is on Labor Day, which gives me 3 months to train. (However, due to another race, I may not do this one. Will have to wait to see the schedule later in the summer.)  Even better, in October, they have a 50K on the same course. This is more appealing for a couple reasons; It’s fully supported and it’s a 50K.

I’d like to do the 50K in under 5 hours. This will be tough, since adding 5 miles onto my best marathon time puts me well into 6 hours. I’ll need a plan, and some training. Matter of fact, it would probably be safe to say I’ll need a lot of training. And it’s going to be hard. Maybe even really hard.

The basics of what I need are:

  • Strength and flexibility training.
  • Serious VO2/Heart Rate improvements.
  • a lot of work on form and technique. Maybe even trying to fit a clinic in somewhere.

Now, I need to go figure out how to do that…


Yet another marathon post

April 4, 2008


Okay, here is yet another marathon post. I’m using an edited version of my original race report for my article in this months club newsletter, so for those of you reading it, sorry for the not-so-original content. Next month, I’ll try to put together what I was originally going to write about.

I’ve edited my original post, fixing some typos. Also, the song playing near the split was Jenny/867-5309. I incorrectly called this Rick Springfield, which isn’t who sang it. (But it would have been great if he did!)

Also, pictures have come out. You can see me here, bib 2747. You’ll probably be able to guess where I was feeling good and where I was dying.

Just to prove he does exist, here’s a picture of Superman.

Using the pictures and results (and guessing on age groups), I managed to track down a couple of the people I was running with. The guy who I ran the last few miles with while crying in agony, is Jiten, bib #3633.

The lady with the daughters that made me laugh, Crystal, bib #3035.

A couple other people left comments on the original post, so they aren’t listed here.

The guy who was running his third marathon and I spent the middle miles with, I couldn’t find.
If any of you run across this, feel free to drop a line and say hi.

Ruhn! Rahn! Ruhn! – 2008 ING Georgia Marathon

March 30, 2008

Rahns bib

Sunday started cold and wet, about 43 degrees and raining as I left the house. The forecast was for the rain to stop by 7, then get colder for a couple hours (down to 38) then come back up to 43 or so. With that in mind, my wardrobe consisted of 2 technical shirts, my standard yellow vest and shorts. I also strapped on my new waist pack I got yesterday and my racing flats (which feel like they’re 1/2 the weight of my regular shoes). A lot of Powerglide and Vaseline, with my Injinji socks rounded me out. Ipod with Nike+ was my timer, sans headphones.

I took Marta down, catching a train about 6:15. It was absolutely packed with other runners and I had a good time socializing a bit. I was sitting with a bunch of gals doing the half, then one of them noticed my bib number was a different color, and was very thrilled that I was doing the full. She nudged her boyfriend and said “Hey, he’s doing the full” in reverent tones. I thought it was kinda funny, but hey, that’s cool.

Getting off the train a guy started talking to me who was doing the half. He asked a bunch of questions about training for the full and how does someone who’s uh, on the bigger side, do it. He was also well built, about 10 pounds less but a couple inches taller. After talking the whole way to the starting area, he was pretty motivated to give it a go. Good luck buddy. Again, I chuckled that here I was, being the role model as a runner.
Starting Area

We showed up a couple minutes before the start, as they were singing the nation anthem. I ran off to try to find the bag drop, hit a puddle that soaked my shoes, and ran probably 1/2 miles looking for it. Finally managed to find it, and got back to the crowd waiting to start just as the gun started. It took about 10 minutes to make it to the starting line, and we were off.

My plan was to take it really easy until the crowd broke up, then continue taking it easy. I’d do some preemptive walking when my legs started to tighten up in an effort to prevent it from getting bad. I’ve been training around a 11:45 pace, and would be happy to hold that for the first half.

The first few miles were a gentle downhill, and I thought I was on track. There was a guy dressed as Superman who passed me. I felt good holding speed for the next couple miles too, even on the uphills. About mile 5, I looked up and was surprised to see I was with the 4:30 pacing group! Holy cow, guess I’ve been going faster than planned. Especially considering I continued at the same pace and passed them up, still feeling good.

The first 7 miles were a lot of fun as we hit a lot of interesting areas of the city and the halfer’s were with us so it was a huge crowd. We saw all the Martin Luther King stuff, and the crowds were out in force. In one area, Little Five Points I think, there was a bunch of kids out playing brass instruments. Okay, they kinda sucked, but it was really cool that they were out there. Coming up on the split, they were playing Jenny’s Girl (867-5309) over the PA, which scared me because I thought I was going to have that stuck in my head the rest of the way.

After the split, it was less crowded and the wind picked up. Ouch, it was a little cold…the wind would stay with us all the way through Decatur until around mile 12. At points, it was more than just a little cold. The crowds in Decatur were good, and we hit Agnes Scott College and the coeds did a great job cheering us further. They had a band rocking away and everyone was having a good time.
Around mile 2

I hit the 13.1 mark right at 2:30. Way to go, I was on a 5 hour pace! I made my goal at this point to do sub-15 minute miles from here on out. This shouldn’t have been a problem, and I figured that will get me a 5:30-ish finish. (Yeah, I know the math doesn’t quite work out, but if I picked up 3 minutes a mile for 4 of the miles, it does.)

The next few miles were a blur. I was hurting a bit, but maintaining speed around 12 mpm. Around mile 17 I really started hurting. I felt the wall coming fast and furious. I’d been hydrating really well and taking a lot of gels, but it wasn’t really helping at this point . In fact, it felt like I had a huge ball of sugar just sitting in my stomach. Someone was handing out pretzels at one point, and a few of those helped soak some of that in.

Coming into Piedmont park (mile 22), I was struggling to run at all. I pretty much settled in to the mindset of walking the rest of the way and still meeting my goal. The 5:00 hour flew by at, which didn’t help. (I guess the 4:30 group passed me early and I missed them.) A guy whom I’d been pacing on and off with for that last five miles pulled a lead that I couldn’t catch up, and a woman caught up to me doing a serious power walk. We hung out for a couple miles, and her daughters came on course and walked with us for a while. They were funny as complaining teenagers because they couldn’t keep up with us! This made me feel better. I got the energy to start running a little bit on a downhill and took off.

The last thing of excitement was about 3/4 of an mile later after a uphill where I decided to run again on the downhill. Oh, it hurt so bad I yelled out. It motivated some kid running his first so he said “hey, I’ll run with you. Let’s go!” We motivated each other for a mile or two before my quads gave out. I had to pause to stretch, then eventually lost site of him. I think he was probably 5-10 minutes ahead of me to the finish.

The lady with the kids caught back up to me, I left her again, then she powered up for the last quarter mile and pulled ahead and finished just before me.

Whew! There I am. Chip time of 5:17, which beat my previous best by 22 minutes. Way to go!

Afterwards, as my tribute to Abebe Bikila’s first olympic win, I stretched and laid down on my back and waved my limbs around like crazy. Boy, it felt good.

EDIT (4/1/08): In case it wasn’t implied, I thought I should say it explicitly. Thank you very much to all the supporters out on the course. Hanging out in the cold is hard to do, but for the runners, it really does make a world of difference. Your ringing cowbells, offering food/drink, shouting and everything else helps make the magic happen.

2008 ING Georgia Marathon – Expo

March 29, 2008

This morning I headed down to the expo for the 2008 ING Georgia marathon at the Georgia Dome. (The location was changed last week after a tornado hit the original venue.) Getting there by train is no problem, and probably a lot easier than driving.I headed down relatively early, since there were some speakers at 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM I wanted to see.
The expo in the Georgia Dome
Packet pickup was near empty when I got there, which made it pretty quick. One interesting they did was have shirt pickup on the opposite side of the expo. I don’t know if this was a move by the marketing department or just an arrangement of coincidence due to the last minute changes. I almost ended up with the wrong shirt since I didn’t see the section for the full until the guy was handing me a shirt for the half. We got it all straightened out. The logo is pretty cool…it’s a bunch of runners legs, but the outline is building in the Atlanta skyline.
Rahn and Kathrine Switzer

After wandering around a bit, I went to the first speaker I was interested in, Kathrine Switzer. She was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and broke the sport open for woman. Yay for girl-power! She was a real good speaker and also told about how she started organizing races and eventually partnered with Avon and started the first of their marathons. (31 years ago tomorrow, in Atlanta). She was also the major influence in getting the womens marathon put into the Olympics. (First run in Los Angeles in 1984, the first Olympic games that I really remember. I even went to an event.)

I bought a copy of her book, and she was kind enough to autograph it and pose for a picture.

The second person I wanted to see was Helen Klein, who is 85 this year. She started running when she was 55 and has completed over a 100 marathons and even more ultras. I didn’t know this going in, but she also participated in an ECO challenge, which is truly amazing for anyone. The majority of her presentation was actually a clip of Dateline where they were talking about her doing it. I think she was 72 at the time. I thought her talk was good…she was just the cutest little ol’ lady (who will blow my running away). Her husband was there also there, and from hearing her talk, her running is all his fault. (He signed them up for her first 10Helen Klein miler.) Her slogan is “I’d rather wear out than rust,” and she’s doing just that.

I also listened to a lecture on sports nutrition. There was some good information there, much of which I knew already, and some new stuff. Because a friend had recommended I do a sweat/hydration profile a few weeks ago, I was interested in how this stuff compared to that.

After the speeches, I hit a number of the booths. Bought some gloves so I’m ready next winter, and a small fanny pack that I think will work out well. It has an elastic band, so I won’t need to cinch it quite as tight to get it to stay in place, which is a problem I’ve had with other ones in the past. Testing it at home, it holds 5 gels and my license and keys, so it’s about the right size.

Time to go relax after our pasta dinner, for tomorrow we run.

In praise of the sports photographer

January 31, 2008

Having recently decided to re-post the pictures from last years Thrill in the Hills race, I recalled some things that I had forgot:
Wow, I took a lot of pictures. Over 1000 of them, actually.

  • It takes a long time to go through them all. A real long time.
  • It takes almost as long to upload them to a server. We’re talking hours.
  • There were some good shots in the set.

As I started uploading them, I decided to clean house a bit, so the set now contains only about 650 shots. Maybe that will make it easier to find your picture in them. I would have cleaned out a couple hundred more, but I had already uploaded half of them and didn’t feel like going through it again. For most the finish line pictures, I took 2-3 shots are people came across. The cleaning consisted of getting rid of the worst of the shots. You’ll noticed the cleaner sets in Finish Line III and Finish Line IV and Starting Line.

This is a shot I didn’t catch in my favorites last year, but saw it this time around and thought it was great.
Guy leaping across the finish line

And here’s one of my favorites of the whole race.
Guy running behind a tree

(Unfortunately, I don’t know who either of these guys are. If this is you, let me know.)
All the pictures are here. Hope you enjoy.

I Won!

December 2, 2007

Saturday (12/1), I ran in the Braselton 8K Race for Reading. Having been looking forward to this for a number of months, it was all as expected:

  • The course was as expected. (Having run it once before, there were no surprises.)
  • The timing was exceptional,. It was done by the Tennessee River Athletic Club, who came out from Alabama for this. Ryan knows these guys and wanted them to show the locals how a race should be run.
  • The food supply was plentiful. There was a snafu with the pizza, so it didn’t arrive until almost everyone was gone, but that’s okay. (Papa Johns was one of the sponsors, so they provided for us.)
  • The weather was perfect. Started off really cold, but it was fine once we started moving.

I started the morning hanging out with friends, both other runners and some of the volunteers. Once we started, I lost everyone, which was no surprise since they’re fast people. Then almost a mile in, I spotted the back of someones head who looked familiar. I caught up, and ended up running with Ryan and his friend Eleanor for the majority of the race. We had a good time joking around.

We (Ryan and Eleanor) hit the first mile at 9:48, which was about a minute and half faster than expected. Woohoo. Mile 2 was at 19:08 or something around there, and I was feeling good. Another gal was with us the whole time, but I don’t know her name.

Knowing a lot of the people working the timing stations, we had a good time joking. An ongoing joke for the whole thing was that I wanted to win in my category. This started because a person was upset about the age group categories, so I asked for a “38 yo Clydesdale run/walker” division. So, as I passed people, they would yell out “First in the Clydesdale…” or some-such nonsense.

As we finished the last turn, I saw the clock read 49:22 and I thought “Wow! I can make it in under 50!” So I sprinted to the finish for a 49:48 time! A PR, and I won in my (own) division. In their divisions, I came in 12/15, which is also cool since I’m usually last in my age group.

I’d definitely recommend this race, and if Runners Fit starts timing races, they’ll be good.