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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 699 - 23 months and counting

Day 699 - November 30, 2010

Wow - tomorrow is day 700 and the start of the 24th month!

Here are the totals from the first 23 months:

Total Miles: 3111
Total time: 401:21:11

That's the equivalent of running from Washington DC to Denver and then to Seattle.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Finally some daylight

Day 689 - November 20, 2010

Today was a great running day. First I went to Dick's Sporting Goods and picked up a new pair of shoes, the Asics 2050. I took a step back from the Kayanos for the winter. Not really sure why I did, but felt that I could save $40 and probably get almost as many miles. My current Kayanos only lasted about 430 miles, which was down quite a bit from the 500 I got out of the last pair. We'll see how it goes.

But, it would be criminal if I didn't tell you about the deal I got. Apparently Dicks is offering a shoe warranty program that you can buy into to and they will replace your shoes, at no additional cost if they don't last a year. Yes, I said a year. This includes normal wear and tear from running. I'm skeptical, but I asked, and they say they will replace them even if I wear the bottoms off from 350 miles of running. For $12, I figured it was worth the risk to see if I really can get new shoes for up to one year. I typically go through 4-5 pairs of shoes in a year - we'll see how many times they will replace them, but even if I only get one free pair, I'm coming out way ahead! I'll report back in a 2-3 months when it is time to replace these.

I then came home and put them on for a road test. It was great to get out for more than an hour in the daylight. I ran about 8.5 miles and it was awesome. I now have cracked the 1600 mile mark for the year, and I'm thinking I might be able to get to 1800 by New Years. That would absolutely destroy last years record of 1460! We'll see how it goes.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Running Manifesto

One of the things I like most about Dailymile is the number of people I've been exposed to that write running blogs. Today I came across a particularly good one at Predawn Runner. This is a guy after my own heart. I've posted his two Manifestos of Running below. If you agree, check out his site and see what other bits of wisdom he has to share in each post.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The streak hits 3000 miles

Day 676 - November 7, 2010

With today's run, I have now logged 3004 miles since Jan 1, 2009. It has been an incredible year and I can't wait to see how many more miles I can pile on.

Today was the first day since the marathon where I felt good running. I did an out and 5.5 miles and even included some hills. I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks concentrating on the Turkey Day Trot and trying to break 18:30 for the 5K.

After the first of the year, I'll refocus on distance for the Charlottesville 10 miler, another half marathon, and possibly a spring marathon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Reflections Part II

Day 672 - November 3, 2010

The excitement and anticipation that built waiting for the gun to finally go off was incredible. It started with a pair of F-18s that flew over the start, the signing of the national anthem, and then the announcer doing his best Ryan Seacrest impersonation. I seriously thought he was going to say, "Charge the District...Beat the Bridge...Take the Iwo...Right after the break". The gun (howitzer) finally went off and we headed north along Route 100. I started conservatively and tried not to pass anyone in the first mile. I just went with the flow of people and tried to hold back the adrenaline. Running up into Rosslyn, I completely missed the first mile marker and never even looked at my watch until I was 9 minutes into the run. At this point, the course turned uphill and I found myself fighting the urge to surge. I was amazed that even with a 15 minute head start, we were starting to catch the wheelchair racers as they struggled to climb that first hill. It was amazing to see their determination as they inched forward one turn at a time to the top.

The two mile mark was at the the top of the hill and I checked my split - a solid 13:50. I was hoping for 7:05s for the first two miles, thinking the hills would be tougher. Mile three was all down hill and despite feeling slow, I clocked a 6:30 and came back in 6:21 for Mile 4. This was way faster than the 6:50's I needed to break three hours, but I don't know that I could have run any slower. I felt like I was crawling as it was. It is weird how that can happen in a race, as it never happens to me in training. I usually struggle to break 7's on a normal run. Miles 5 and 6 were very flat along the river as we looped out of Rosslyn and toward Gerogetown. I actually got a little bored through here as it was incredibly flat and straight as an arrow, but I still turned in faster than expected splits of 6:40 and 6:31. The course then turned back toward Georgetown and we were faced with the only long hill in the race. Mile 7 was almost completely uphill and it definitely slowed me down, but not too bad (7:03). Miles 8 and 9 were back downhill and the crowds in Georgetown were amazing. Thousands of people lined the streets and cheered for everyone. It was a great boost to the moral and helped me pick the pace back up for splits of 6:31 and 6:41.

From Georgetown, it was on to the National Mall and around the Tidal Basin. I cruised through the next mile and finished the first 10 in 66:45, which would be in my top 10 for fastest 10 miler times (maybe top 5). Miles 11, 12, and 13 were pretty uneventful and I managed some even splits of 6:49, 6:45, and 6:48, right on perfect pace. I was really pleased at the half to see 1:27:46 on the clock. A full 2 minutes in the bank for breaking 3 hours. Miles 14-16 were equally good, just missing my needed times (6:41, 6:54, 6:54), but with all that time in the bank, I didn't think much about it. I was starting to feel some fatigue, but I was at mile 16 which is to be expected.

Running back around the Lincoln Memorial and onto the National Mall, the crowds were large and a bit distracting. Everyone was trying to find their runner and if that meant they had to step in front of you, well, you should just go around them. I was bit frustrated by this, but what are you going to do. Just before mile 17, I felt my first twinge in my hamstring, but I immediately sucked down 8 oz of Gatorade and a GU pack and I thought I was going to be ok. Everything seemed to loosen back up as I rounded the Capitol and reversed direction on the Mall. I was admittedly a little scared at this point that I was going to bonk and slowed my pace to 7:07 for miles 17 and 18.

Unfortunately, this is where the good news ends. Just before mile 19, my right hamstring completely locked up on me. I had to stop and stretch it out as I couldn't even walk. It eventually let go and I made it to the water stop and pounded a couple of cups of Powerade and eventually got back to running. I lost some time here and the next mile was the first to crack 8 minutes per mile (8:03). I came back with a pair of 7:44 for miles 20 and 21, but I had to intersperse some short walk/stretching breaks to keep my hamstrings from cramping.

I finally made it across the bridge and back into Crystal City, but the cramps came more often and with more intensity. I spent a lot of time walking and looking for water stations. At this point I knew 3 hours was out of the question as I went 8:44, 9:03, 8:54 for miles 22, 23, and 24. I was starting to really feel sorry for myself when off to my right, I noticed row after row of white headstones. I was back to Arlington National Cemetery. This was a major SUICB (Suck It Up CryBaby) moment for me. How could I be whining about the pain in my legs when these men and women had given so much for me to even have the opportunity to run this race.

So, I changed my attitude, but not my speed and continued to struggle the last two miles in just under 9 minute pace (8:57, 8:54). At 26 miles you enter the the final climb up to the Iwo Jima Memorial. I gave it my best effort and pushed through to the finish - proud that I had qualified for Boston with a 3:11:32, but disappointed that I had failed to break 3:10 or the ultimate 3 hour barrier.

When I finished I found my wife and kids and swore again that I would never run another marathon. I love the 10 mile and half distances. I can get through them and finish without feeling like I am going to die.

But I have to admit, today, I actually Goggled spring marathons - I'm such a dummy.

Anyone running Vermont in May?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reflections - Part 1

Day 671 - November 2, 2010

Happy to report that I have kept the streak alive despite some really sore legs. My quads are especially sore and do not appreciate stairs at this point. But I still managed to muddle through three mile runs both Monday and today.

After two days to sit and reflect on all the training, I've run the gamut of never wanting to run a marathon again to starting to think about where I might try my next.

But before I get ahead of myself, here's my recollection of how the race went down.

I fell asleep Saturday night while my wife and daughter's watch the Haunted Gingerbread House Challenge on Food Network, so I was out by 10:00. I know I woke up a few times in the night, but I felt rested when the alarm went off at 4:30. I got up, ate some light snacks and was off to the Metro for my ride to the Pentagon. I had about a 30 minutes ride, but at that time, it was only marathon runners on the train. The Metro has a station right at the Pentagon, but it was on the opposite side of the starting area. I felt like a total lemming just following the crowd around the building in the dark, but I had no idea where I was going and that just seemed logical. It felt like we walked for over 15 minutes to get to security. It was recommended that we arrive at the race 2 hours before the start to get through security. I think that was a bit much, especially given that temps were in the 40s. But I found a place to sit on the asphalt, tried to stay warm, and amused myself people watching all the runners in costume.

About 30 minutes before the race, I started making my way to the starting corrals. It was another half mile walk. I've never done a race with this many people and was surprised by how large the starting area needed to be to accommodate 30000 runners.

I found my corral and with about 10 minutes to go before the race, I realized I needed to pee one last time. I jumped out of the corral and started jogging back to the portable toilets and realized i wasn't going to make it. I saw one or two guys peeing through the chain link fence along the highway, and figured what the heck. I mean, why should I take up a spot in the portable toilets that one of the women runners could use, right??? By the time I finished, about 100 other guys decided to make the same concession and we were shoulder to shoulder.

I got back to the corral with plenty of time to spare and they walked us down to the starting line. Unfortunately for my friend Mike, he didn't estimate his timing very well and was actually in the portable toilets when the gun went off. That mistake probably cost him 10-15 minutes of race time as he then had to pass 20000 people to get to the finish line. I know he was disappointed by that.

Tomorrow I'll write about the actual race and how it went mile by mile. I've broken it down by my watch splits, 5k splits, and even my first and second halves. Hope you'll check back.