Friday, November 27, 2009

I didn't fail.....

I merely deferred success.

So I went down to Blue Point for the 5K Turkey Trot. The goodie bag was neat. The race is for a dental charity so in the bag was a toothbrush, a big tube of Crest ProHealth toothpaste, and candy. I guess the dentist is trying to ensure business. It was quite a turnout. ~800 people came down for the race. I like the turkey day races because it gives me the illusion that I worked out and don't feel guilty about having some pumpkin pie for dessert.

Even before getting to the starting line, I knew it would not be a PR day. The weather was perfect, but I just felt really stiff in the hips from the half marathon. So I figured I would just go out there and enjoy the run. When the gun went off, it was hard to get through the crowd. I stepped on a few feet and apologized a million times. Finally I got into some clear space. The course is nice and flat so no hills to worry about. It seemed to take forever to get to the one mile marker. I wore my Garmin so I could watch my pace. I was still hoping to put together a good race so pacing would be important. In the first mile I was all over the place (or the Garmin was flaking out). I was anywhere from 8:35-9:55 min/mile. That's a pretty wide swing and I'm not sure I was that varied in my pace. So I tried to settle in at 9:40. By the time I got to the first mile marker, I was on my pace. Phew.

After that I just ran and didn't look at the watch. I knew I was slowing down but I was trying to focus on enjoying the run. For the last few runs I've been on, I really haven't enjoyed running. I'm in a funk and I'm trying to break out of it. So I decided after that 1st mile, I was going to forget a PR attempt, and just run. The rest of the race was uneventful for me. I made it to the finish. No PR this time around but I hope that perhaps I have renewed my running focus. My next scheduled race is the HoHoHo Holiday run in December.

But the big excitement of the day was Wingman coming home from Florida. He's been gone for ~ a week and a half. Before he left we talked about cycling over the winter and what workouts we can do. So, when I went to the bike shop last week while he was away, I picked up this for him.

When we got home from the airport we went down to the basement where his new ride was waiting. He was excited to see it. I figured we would head out this weekend to go for a ride. But he surprised me by asking if I wanted to go for a ride now. Sure!! We changed, packed the bikes in the Element and went over to one of the trails. The loop we rode was 8.5 miles. It was so much fun to get out there together. About half way through we made a quick stop and I could see the smile on his face. He was enjoying the ride. We resumed the ride and made our way back out. The last mile was rough. I was pooped out and ready to rest. Wingman really enjoyed the ride. He confessed that when we made the rest stop, he was briefly flirting with the idea of a 2nd loop. Yikes!! I've created a monster!

We spent Thanksgiving with my family and had a great time. My cousin's wife and I defended our "Taboo" victory for the last 2 years. I believe we are now the 3x defending champions. People try to take us down, but they just can't match our intensity. Every year the other team's shuffle the players to find the right combo, but so far no one has really threatened our dynamic duo or as we call ourselves "Team S&M" (get your minds out of the gutter, it's our initials.....)
We're thinking about wearing these next year when we come back to defend our titles:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Clubber Lang says it best

And that ladies and gentlemen, sums up my race today in Philly in a nutshell. I actually sat in my car Saturday morning and debated not going. Wingman is down in Florida and I would be going solo to Philly. I haven't been feeling all that well over the last ~2 months since I got my first cold the end of September. It seems like every run I've been on the last few weeks have been a chore. Do I really want to drive over 3 hours and feel like crap to run? I just figured it might motivate me to get the mileage in.

So fast forward to 5am this morning. The alarm goes off and I attempt to get out of bed. I wasn't feeling so hot and sat on the edge of the bed contemplating sitting this one out. No way. I didn't drive all the way to not do this race. So I got ready and started the walk down to the race. It was a little cold out this morning but nothing like last year. This year I wore a long sleeve running short with shorts. Last year I had to wear a jacket, gloves, and tights.
The gun went off and I started out. I wore my garmin GPS so I could keep track of my pace. My goal here was to get the mileage in. I had no time goal in mind. I found a nice rhythm early and tried to keep my pace in check. Right around mile 2 was a downhill section and I let it rip. In my head I was thinking ahead in the race to the cobblestone portion. I mean, who plans a marathon/half marathon course and has a street in there that is cobblestone? But my head/stomach brought me back the present. I was starting to taste the shot blocks I ate at the race start. I was also running behind this guy in a 'custom' shirt. It said "Jesus ran my race for me. This is just the victory lap." Huh? I tried to focus on anything other than my stomach. Nothing doing. I finally saw a port-a-john and made a pit stop.

I came out and there was an aid station. Grabbed some water and gatorade and continued on. Mile 4-8 were a blur for me. I just remember hoping that a lightening bolt would come down out of the sky and take me out. I actually debated bailing on the race and going back to my hotel. I wasn't too far from it. But I wasn't sure I could pull the plug on this one. I didn't think I could live with myself it I had a DNF. I mean, if I really had a medical issue I would certainly drop out and not lose sleep over it. But today I knew if I quit, it would eat away at me for a long time. I am not sure I could get to the marathon with the DNF cloud over my head. Every training run would remind me that I was a failure. So I had to dig down deep and do some serious HTFU!! For pete's sake, I was wearing my HTFU visor. Gotta live up to the words on my visor.

So by mile 8 I tried to pull it together. I was giving myself a pep talk. In my head, not out loud. Don't want people to think I am totally nuts. I got to mile 10 and thought, hey, only 3 more to go! Ugh, only 3 more to go. The good news is once you get into the park after the uphill at mile 9, the rest is downhill and flat. I kept plodding along, just wanted to keep my feet moving.

The race organizers changed the course up a little this year. The finish area is waaaaay too confusing. You have to run through a traffic circle and then down to the finish line (which is basically the starting line). Problem is, you have to follow signs because the marathon runners continue on course via the inner lane and the half marathon goes through the outer lane. Last year it was the opposite. Some marathon folks were darting in and out of the human traffic. I just wanted to get to the finish line safely. My time was ~3 minutes faster than last year. I think if I felt better during the race I could have shaved off ~6- minutes from last year, but it was not meant to be. The race shirt last year was cool. It was a long sleeve black dri-fit jersey that said "Kicked Asphalt". This year was lame - burgundy long sleeve dri-fit that said "Running Means..." Wow, what brainchild came up with that?

Once I crossed the line I got my medal and some food. I was feeling much better at this point but I was glad to not have to run anymore. I skipped the mylar blanket because I did not want to walk back to the hotel wearing it. I made the 1 mile walk of shame back to the hotel. I really didn't want to admit to people anything about this race. I had to ride the elevator with some woman from an english teacher's conference at the hotel. I was so dejected from my performance and now I was forced to relive it again. All I could think was "why didn't I take off my race number at the finish line?"

I got back to my room and just fell flat, face down on the bed. I was thinking about how I wanted to take a shower but couldn't muster the energy to get up. I called and left a message for Wingman. I did some easy range of motion on my legs so they would not tighten up on me. Took my shower, finished packing my bags and got the hell out of dodge!!

I made really good time coming home. There was no traffic on the roads. I actually got back in time to make a brief appearance at my cousin's baby shower. Almost makes it sound like I lead a busy life ;-)

When I get my pictures transferred, I will write up my visit to the Reading Terminal Market. Saw some scary things over there. I'll leave you with two words.....Turkey Scrapple.

Friday, November 20, 2009

How does he do that?

I think Wingman is a witch. I mean no offense, but sometimes he can do some weird things. Yesterday I went to the bike shop to pick up my order of Shot Blocks. They called Tuesday and I told them I would be down Thursday afternoon. I didn't mention it to the Wingman. Now a trip to the bike shop for me can be dangerous. I get all caught up in the bikes, wheels, clothing, etc and sometimes have trouble getting out of there unscathed. So before I went in yesterday, I sat in the car and had my usual pep talk. "You can do this. Just walk in, keep your head down, pay for the shot blocks, and get out. Ice water running through your veins. You can do this. Be strong." I went in and stuck to the plan. Well, sort of. Darren asked if I got the email with the sale items. I could feel my legs getting weak. Sweat beads forming on my brow. We start to discuss Zipp 808 wheels. Mmmmm, new wheels. Be strong, be strong. Then, my phone rang. It was the Wingman calling from Florida. How the heck did he know that I was looking at an expensive item that I didn't need right now?

Tonight, I went to Target to buy new pillows. I am like Conan the Destroyer when it comes to pillows. They don't last long for me. After I picked two out, I walked around the rest of the store. I was over in electronics playing with a Garmin GPS unit. Mind you I don't need a GPS unit, but it was a nice toy. As I went through the various screens, my phone rang. It was the Wingman again. How the heck did he know? How does he know that I am looking at toys that I don't need! He must be some kind of witch. Maybe he has a spy? Hmmm......

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One week to Philly

Just got back from the airport. Dropped the Wingman off for his flight. He sent me a text message that his flight is delayed and he has the added bonus of a screaming child on his flight. I am soooooo jealous. NOT. I told him it could be worse. This could be his screaming child. Oh boy, you know John Lennon had to be under the influence of drugs when he was with her.

Last night we went to the Devils game in New Jersey. The old stadium was so easy to get to. It was right off the turnpike. Now, it's not as simple. And to make matters worse, it was raining and drivers tend to get stupid when it rains. This usually brings out my "vehicular induced Tourettes". We made it there ~14 minutes before face-off. Grabbed a bite to eat and made our way down to our seats. While all this was going on, I was mid-text with Wynn about running with his crew on Sunday morning. Turns out they were running the hills of Port Jeff and I wasn't ready for those hills. Since I am not doing a taper before Philly, I don't want to add hills to my long run to fatigue me even more. I expressed my disdain to Wynn about the idiot sitting next to me (not the Wingman). This guy was carrying on with the guy behind me about his hockey knowledge. Please, get a room you two. It was so bad that I told the Wingman we had to move after the 1st period or I was going to hit this guy. Wynn suggested that I take photos of myself in cuffs for the blog. Sorry, Wynn, no pics to post. We found two seats two rows down and sat there in peace. Devils played a great game. They won 5-2.

So next Sunday is the Philly half marathon. I'm using it as a training run so basically that means I have no expectations of finishing times, just finishing 'fast'. Again, if you know me and how I run, fast is a term that is used loosely. Wingman will not be making the race as he is out of town, so I will be going solo. Weather right now is ~60 degrees and possible showers. It'll be a little warm, but I'm hoping that at 8a, it's comfortable. When I did the race last year, it was freezing. By mile 10 the aid stations iced over and I had to jump up onto the grass to get through it. This year I'll be in shorts and a t-shirt compared to running tights, under armour top, cycling vest, and a beanie hat last year.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New toy on the way

The other night I ran through the parking garage at school to get to my car. The temperature was cool and comfortable. I felt really good running. I swear I was this close to going "Forrest Gump" and just go running. Problem was it was dark and I wouldn't be able to see well and cars may not see me. Now that it is getting darker earlier, it really doesn't bode well for running outdoors. Where I live, street lights are rare. It's pitch black out here. I dread having to run on the treadmill for most of my weekday runs. So I combed the web and bought one of these:
So now I am ready to run outdoors when I get home. It's a Petzl Tikka XP 60 lumen light that has an adjustable lens so you can use it as a spot light or an area light, depending on your needs. I'll be more visible to the cars around me as well. And when I am not running, I can go find a coal mine and go mining ;-) It should be in early this week so I'll get to use it right away!

On tap tomorrow is a 13 mile run. I might channel my inner Forrest Gump and just go out and run 13 miles out and have Wingman pick me up. We'll see what happens in the morning when I wake up. I'm not sure what is on his running schedule for tomorrow.