Friday, December 21, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
I am now taking 3 to 7 days off to let my ailing left hamstring heal some before the Christmas break. On this break I am planning on running multiple 20+ mile training runs on the trails around where I will be visiting. I am very excited about this opportunity to hit the trail and want to be fresh to make the most of it. My mileage has been bounding off 36 miles per week and I fell I can push it to 40 or 45 once I am able to heal this nagging injury. I first felt it 5 or 6 weeks ago on a 15 mile run. I was limping around the rest of the day after that run, including a 3 mile walk with my family. I appears to be getting slowly better but I want to allow it a few extra days off to heal. I need to start lifting my legs and need a healthy hamstring to do so effectively.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Shortly after I started running I noticed a newbie runner. Steve was talking about "this running life" and I pondered how running has changed my life and the adventure that this new runner was undertaking. If the runner keeps it up it will take them on adventure after adventure. I was excited for that person. I was the person again 2 miles later, this time walking. Upon seeing me he started running again. This made me feel good. We must always be there for our fellow man and challenge them to accelerate to great things. I believe my presence caused him to start running again, thus becoming stronger and faster because I choose to run.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
The day started early as my wife and I arose at 4 AM. We met up with our friends at there house, near the start of the race. My friend Rex and I were dropped off at the shuttle bus. When we arrived at the start we had some time to kill. It was a cool 70 degrees Fahrenheit that morning. This is a large race with 20,000 entrants and I watched in amusement as peope in costume milled around the staring area. The best costumes were two Geico Cavemen, and of course Elvis. As we lined up to start the race I chugged a gatoraid. I had not eaten much this morning and that would turn out to be one of my larger mistakes of the day. As I awaited the start I had the urge to go to the bathroom, it was too late now and I would have to go during the race.
The race started and we hit the line at around 7 minutes on the clock. I ran hard the first mile and was feeling ok, but not good. I hit the first set of bathrooms and lost a good 45 seconds right at mile one. I then fell in behind the 1:52 pace group. This is where I would stay for the next 3 mile. I got a huge boost as I ran past my wife cheering for me. She is my number one fan. Over the bridge I ran. Then I started to tire. This ended my hope of running with the 1:52 pace group for the entire race.
At mile 5 I fell off the pace and began to slow down. Clearly I had not eaten enough that morning and now I was paying for it. For some reason I waited to eat a gel that was in my pocket. The long trail run I ran the past weekend was taking a toll on my legs as they felt like lead blocks by mile 6. I started walking through the water stops. Not a way to set a PR. I was quickly revising my goal to just finish in 2:05.
As I ran mile 9, back over the bridge I knew I would soon get a boost from my wifes cheers again. This kept me going as I counted streets along the Atlantic Ave. Street by street I ran, quickly realizing that 2:05 may not be achievable. It is fascinating how you can revise goals so quickly while on the run. My mile 10 goals was now 2:10. I got a huge boost by all the cheering people from miles nine to the end of the race. They really kept me pushing towards 2:10.
I felt pretty good physically. My legs were heavy, but nothing was hurting more than usual. I sped up as I made the turn onto the boardwalk and ran hard for the next 1/2 mile. Then I had to slow down again. This process repeated itself for the last 2 miles. When I was within 1/2 a mile of the finish I sped up and started to sprint with 2/10 to go. I almost ran out of energy, but was able to cross the finish in 2:07. This was a PR for the course, but not anywhere close to my pre-race goal.
I love the crowd and the noise and the other runners on the course. It feels like a big happy family out there with everyone pulling for everyone. Before I ran I did not know what I was missing. The feeling I had when I crossed the finish line was amazing. Such a feeling of accomplishment. It is strange what goes through your mind while you are racing. I went through a lot of lows in this race and never really hit a high note. I was not able to reach that place where you push yourself beyond your known limits. I just never got my mind to that place. This race is quickly becoming my rival. I just have not been able to perform up to the level I have in other races. Maybe next year I will be able to conquer it.....
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The first part of the run left my moral low and put doubts in my mind. I made it to the first peak of the trail in just under 1:15, a very fast time for hiking, but I had to walk almost the entire way to the top. Where I live and train there are no hills or trails that match this type of terrain. This is a major concern of mine that must be addressed. I was not prepared for the beating that my legs would take. The climb left them tired and fatigued, not a good state to be in prior to running down steep rugged terrain. It did feel great to finally be on top of this mountain I have driven by so many times.
The downhill left me feeling like the best trail runner on the mountain. My moral peaked as I piloted my body down the hills and through the valley. This is where I will make up time I thought to myself. Running down the trail felt like reckless abandon. The kinetic energy that was flowing through my body was unmeasurable. This is why I choose to participate in this crazy sport. Now that I have a taste of it I must have more. Then I hit another long steep climb. This was not just an elevation roller coaster. My moral was inversely proportionate to the elevation profile. This climb was the low point of the run. At one point I slowed to a stop to rest and catch my breath. At the time I did not realize it, but looking back, as I climbed I was just loading up my potential energy for the fun downhill to come. I powered over the top and off I went running down the mountain. I passed two men backpacking up the hill and there jaws dropped as I came running past them. "Keep it up man", the one man commented. My moral shot back up and off I went.
I reached the trail head in 2:40 and was happy with my effort. I averaged around a 14 minute mile pace. As I drove off the mountain my lower legs hurt and my quads were shot. I realized that I must spend some time in the weight room strengthening my legs to take the downhill beating they will endure. I also realized that the run / walk strategy may be the best way for me to complete an ultra on the trail.
This run taught me a lot about myself. I learned that I can do this and I can succeed. The human body is capable of amazing feats, as long as the mind stays motivated and keeps all doubts out. I now know that I can do it.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Saturday afternoon I went camping with friends at False Cape State Park. This is a secluded place on a narrow stretch of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Back Bay. The only way to access the park is by hiking, biking, or boat. This trip we decided to bike in. It was around a 10 mile bike ride to our campsite. The site was right on the beach and by 6:00 pm we has the beach all to ourselves. We swam, rode some waves, cooked dinner, and passed out under a blanket of stars. The next morning we woke up, packed up, and headed for home.
I was tired on Sunday from all this activity, but it felt good to get on the bike and put in some miles. It also gave me legs a break from running.
My weekend totals: 12 mile run and 2 - 10+ mile bike sessions
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I am now just a few short weeks away from the Rock and Roll half marathon and my training has taken on a new type of focus, a drive from my inner being to accomplish the unthinkable. I have crazy ideas in my head. Ideas that were planted by the book “Ultra Marathon Man”. I want to run 30 miles on my birthday, January 13, 2008. This is the day that I will turn 30 years old and I cannot think of a better way to deal with this milestone age than this. I do not like the idea of turning 30, in fact I hate it, but as occupants of this earth we can do nothing to stop aging and eventually death. These things only answer to God. Hopefully we can just slow it down and believe in the idea that you are only as old as you feel.
The crazy ideas do not stop at running 30 miles on my birthday, but that is just the beginning. Some people aspire to run the Boston Marathon, and I too would love the experience, but my heart yearns for adventure and a pure test of the human spirit. I believe that this lies in the Ultra Marathon. An Ultra is defined as any distance over 26.2 miles. This distance not achievable without precise training and planning. This is the ultimate test of the human spirit and will.
I have a goal to complete the Laurel Highlands ultra marathon. This even occurs on June 14, 2008 and is held on the Laurel Highlands Hiking trial. The trail is 70 miles long and has many harsh ascents and descents. As a youth in Boy Scouts I hiked almost all the trail in pieces, and last year I completed all but a 3 mile section, so I am familiar with the trail and terrain. With 11 months to train I believe that I can accomplish my goal in a timely manner. Where there is a will there is a way.
My number one challenge will be staying motivated, motivated to rise before the sun to train, to push on when it hurts, and to make time for all this running. I cannot lose track of my roots and strength train and lift, as it is very important to me to not lose muscle mass in the process. I think I have finally found something athletic that I may be able to accelerate in. Only time will tell. I take much comfort in knowing that most elite ultra endurance athletes are in there 30’s and 40’s. Some have not even started training until there 30’s. I know that I still have time to do it.