Week Roundup

March 22, 2008

Last sunday, our group met to go run the trails at Elachee Nature center. This is a nice 5-6 mile loop that we all enjoy. Everyone wanted to go different distances-two people wanted 1, three wanted two, and one idiot wanted to do three. (Yes, you can guess who the idiot was without much difficulty.) No problem, we’ll each do our own thing and meet in-between and as we pass each other.

The trails were quite beat up from the major storm the day before, but everything is manageable. Just a few extra trees to jump over. I saw the lead group once at my mile 2, their mile 3.5 as we were headed in opposite directions. Then I saw them again as they started lap 2 and I was finishing lap one. So far, all is well. A quick stop at the car to hydrate and say hi to the two people doing just one lap. They offered some water, but I had some in my car. That’s cool.

Half way through lap 2 I scared the bejezzus out of an old lady who was walking (and looking behind her for some reason when I came around the corner). I stopped and chatted for a few minutes. Then I continue on. When I finished lap 2, everyone else had packed up and left so I hydrated again and decided what to do. As I was standing next to my car, I noticed they left me a baggie of trailmix and a bottle of water. Real nice, you may think. But the water was one of these little 4 oz bottles. Like that’s going to do any good! That’s just teasing me…

I headed out and did another 1/2 lap (about 4 miles) instead of a full and finished feeling strong. As I left the parking lot, I made a quick call to one of the group to “thank” them for the water. (and to make sure I didn’t need to wait for anyone else who needed a ride.) I ran into the old lady again who couldn’t believe I was still going. Again, we chatted for a few minutes…a while later, when I was on my last mile, I ran into her again but didn’t stop to chat since I was on a beautiful downhill and enjoying it.

Thursday I managed to hit some speedwork on the treadmill during lunch. It was a very busy week, so didn’t take much time for lunch on Monday-Wednesday. Oh well, the rest days were good, and I did get a bowling lesson in on Monday evening and the bowling league Tuesday night. (For the record, I bowled my high series of the season! My average is slowing getting larger. Another few weeks and it will almost seem like I know what I’m doing.)

Saturday, we met for the RunnersFit group run. A couple of of the guys mentioned the water they left me, and how they were disappointed that they didn’t get mentioned as jackasses on the blog. So folks, the first couple paragraphs above are for you, Jackass!

We ran the Braselton 8K course. I pushed myself a bit and managed to keep the group in sight for more than the first half. In finishing, I beat my previous time on the course by a minute and a half! WooHoo. A shoutout also goes out to Jenny, who ran the full course for the first time and came in a couple minutes behind me. (As she later mentions, she was madly trying to keep me in site so she wouldn’t get lost…and I didn’t even know, which is good since I would have slowed down.)

I also remembered to pick up the Thrill in the Hills 1/2 marathon pictures from Ryan (taken by the other Ryan). I’ve posted some of my favorites over here. Thanks Ryan for taking them.


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.

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.

I’m running it

February 15, 2008

After some errors with Active.com, I managed to get registered to the Thrill In The Hills 1/2 marathon. Last year, I photographed this race. I thought about running it, but it was right before the ING Georgia race I was doing, so didn’t want to wear myself out.

This year, I’m running it and I don’t care that it’s on the heels of the 29 Cubed run and a month before ING. Ah, the pleasures of no worries…I have a month to recover before ING (where I’m running the full marathon this time instead of the half), so this weekend will make a great last hurray before I think about tapering.

This year, the race is part of the XTerra series…something about competing in a bunch of races and at the end of the season the biggest winner gets a prize. As I’m sure y’all are shocked to hear, I don’t care about this since it’s not like I have a chance if winning.

Registering proved to take a couple days because Active.com was experiencing some credit card verification issues. Unfortunately, their errors messages were generic and I didn’t know what was going on until I emailed customer service and got a response saying to “try again later”. No big deal, since I don’t think I was charged 10 times as I retried the credit card info. (Turns out I wasn’t.)

And so, there I am…looking forward to this race. It’s going to be a long one, since the day before I’m attempting to run 29 miles as part of our 29 Cubed race.

29 Cubed – The race that comes every 4 years

February 1, 2008

The leap year is upon us, so we should celebrate!

And what better way to celebrate than by running on the 29th?
How about running 29 miles?
Ah, now we’re getting there….
Hmmm, to stay with the theme, lets give ourselves 29 hours to complete the distance.

Ah, that’s the makings of a great run…Let call it 29 cubed!

Feel free to join us. See the webpage for details. www.gonesomewhere.com/29Cubed

(Note: This is a repost of the original entry. Somehow, it disappeared. Probably went out running on one of our usual course, where everyone gets lost, even blog entries.)

Weekend Roundup and pictures

January 28, 2008

Saturday, the Runners Fit group heading back out to the Elachee Nature Center for our run before going to Sweet Escapes for their Runners Special breakfast.
Overall, the run was good…we started with a really big (in my opinion) hill that took my breath away along the West Lake Trail. I didn’t really get it back for about 2 miles, right before getting to the suspension bridge. I wanted to do the back half this time, but wasn’t sure what direction the rest of the group took, so I actually didn’t cross over, and headed up the Dunlap trail (clockwise). When it split off back to just the West Lake, I headed up that way. Here, I ran into Gordon, who split off from the main group to meet up with them later. He had never been here before, but wasn’t too lost.

From there, I hit the Mathis Trail connector and took this to the East Lake trail, which took me back to the parking lot. Along here, I ran into M**** (protecting the innocent and all), who was very lost and very unhappy about it! After getting him set in the right direction, I followed and we finished up.

Between M**** being lost and Gordon being on his own for a while, I was thinking next time we need to make sure we have contingency plans when people get separated. (Being an expert map reader, I never get lost…just mis-orientated on occasion. 🙂 Something for us to think about. I usually carry my phone, and have thought about carrying a whistle to signal for assistance.

Sunday, some of us met at Ft. Yargo to run the trails there. Everyone did good by not getting lost…I had a bad first 4 miles, then loosened up…but by then my pace was horrible, and I finished the 10 miles in 2:15. I thought I was ahead of the main group because I didn’t see footprints in the mud. (There was some muddy, slipper sections, which is always fun.) However, they were all ahead of me, and I get the feeling that they were waiting awhile. Sorry guys.

While there, some of us were talking about signing up for the Disney Marathon next year. Maybe even doing the Goofy Challenge. So, time to start thinking about the next set of races to do…

Because the Thrill in the Hills Half Marathon is coming up, I’ve started posting my pictures of the race from last year. (Last year, I photographed the race and had a blast. This year, I haven’t decided.)
Usual rules apply: Free free to take for your own use. If you want a higher resolution version of a picture, contact me.
The photos are here.

I was a disbeliever

January 23, 2008

Two things have happened in the last couple weeks that have really made me say “whoah”.

First, back in December when I was given a gift certificate for a new bowling ball, everyone said “get a fingertip ball. Your average will go up overnight”.

Yeah, right, I said…how much difference can a ball make my ball, a T-Road Solid by Storm. Of course, I had it drilled to fit my hand and made it a fingertip. With it, I also did a one hour lesson to show me how to throw it. The lesson started with the very basics, from how to put my fingers in it to basic arm swing. I spent a good portion of the time standing at the throw line and swinging my arm and throwing gutter balls. I also learned how to aim, which I had always been doing incorrectly, as I came to find out. (Hint: If you’re looking at the pins, your looking at the wrong place.)

Now, before this, my weekly average as been 102, give or take a point every week. my previous high game ever was 144, which I’d never gotten close to matching again. (a 115 was a good high game.) Well, after the lesson, I went a couple times…without trying all to hard, my games were creeping up. I threw a 108, then a 130 something, even got up to a 166. Then, went a week later, and threw a 177. League has finally started back up, and last night I threw a 124, 133 and 149. The week before I threw a little lower, but in the same neighborhood. Wow, that’s pretty dang cool.

Okay, the second instance is all one we’ve heard. Stretch. I’ve always been bad at stretching before and after running…just laziness to be honest. And I didn’t think it made a big difference. Well, a couple weeks ago, my chiropractor (who’s ran 5 marathons) suggested I start doing yoga daily.

So I went through a couple yoga tapes we had laying around and got some good moves. I then started spending 10-20 minutes every night stretching while we watched TV. On that weekends run, I was almost pain free on a 6 miler. I just started tightening up in the last 1/2 mile..cool, but was it really the stretching? I spent the next week not stretching at all outside of what I’ve always done…Let me tell you, the Saturday morning run was horrible in comparison. I was tight and hurting, which doesn’t make for a good time. So I decided I’m now a stretching believer. I’m back to doing some every night this week. Today’s lunchtime run went good…