Sunday, February 28, 2010

Feeling Great!

9 weeks to go and things are going pretty well. I am averaging between 25 and 30 miles a week and making pretty good time. I have been able to shave up to 30 seconds off my mile pace for runs up to a half marathon so I am now under 2 hours. So, things are looking up. However, we have also learned some things along the way.
  1. Take a rest day between 8-10 miles and then trying to run 20
  2. Energy gel packs are a good thing
  3. One bowl of oatmeal and 4 cups of coffee are not sufficient to provide enough energy for a long training run (15+ miles). If you are going to do that, be sure you have cab fare to get back to your starting point.
This weekend, I ran 8.4 at 8:57 on Friday and that felt really good. On Saturday, I had a reasonably light breakfast (see above) and then went to the office for a while and then tried to put on 20 miles. I was at 1:57:40 at the half marathon point and then at 15, I had to stop for a traffic light. At that point, my lower body said "Enough! We're hungry and you think you can still push us like this with hardly anything to eat?" I realized that I was truly abusing myself and I acquiesced to the protests from my lower regions and then slowly jogged the 3.5 miles back to the gym where I drank a recovery drink and then sat in the shower (the one reserved for handicapped) for probably 20 minutes. I ate a little and feel better today. A little sore, but okay. Now, if I add the distances from the last 2 days together, I have accomplished a marathon in a bout 4:40. It gives me great motivation that I got as far as I did with such little fuel. I will work some more in the first part of the week coming up; but I have something that takes precedent over training that is going on next weekend...

As if I were not already a glutton for punishment (who in their right mind would run so much when it is just as easy to get where you are going by car?), I am taking on the biggest challenge I have faced over the last 7 months next weekend. After not seeing each other for over 2 years (sure, we have communicated over the phone and via e-mail), SHE is coming to visit. You have read in previous posts how I have alluded to SHE and how I have struggled with where our relationship has been, how it is or should be put to rest and whether there is anything there to set a foundation for a future relationship. Well, I guess it was an aligning of the stars or just some mental weakness that got us to agree to meet for the weekend. There will be few if any distractions, so we might be able to get some ground covered. I hope so. As I am putting together a life, there is a big piece missing in the puzzle that is Adam and hopefully, getting some shape to this piece, whatever shape that is, will keep people from looking entirely straight through me; like they can see through the hole that is there. I am keeping expectations low, being open about what I hope to get from the visit and trying to be sensitive to how lives and people change; not only for me, but for everyone who has ever known me.

Anyway, enough about that. I will fill you in on how things went later on. Back to running... May 1 is the Illinois Marathon and I have a number of 5 and 10 k's to run before that, plus training in high gear. Need a massage in a couple of weeks. Maybe after all this work, including the visit, there will be "happy ending" (get it...happy ending/massage?). Oh well, enough!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Making hay while, well you know...

Contrary to the blathering on of all of the rocket scientists in the main stream media, I do believe that there is a real problem with global climate change (mis-named "global warming"). Between the constant warming of the oceans and the 2010 El Nino that is going on, we are seeing tons of snow where it usually does not fall (hello Virginia) and little snow where it is expected and needed (hello Vancouver). We have been blanketed here in my Midwest Exile, as well, and that has made training a little challenging. Too much ice and snow on the roads make for dangerous training outside and you all already know my feelings about running laps in-doors. So, over the past 2 weeks, I have been limited in my training. I only got speed work in last week and lifted weights last weekend. I expected to lose some effectiveness in my training and set an even steeper hill to climb in order to be ready for my little endeavor in 12 (YES 12!!!) weeks. However, I have learned that if I set expectations low enough, I will be pleasantly surprised. It's amazing how that happens. So...

Speed work consisted of run a mile, walk a quarter, sprint a quarter, walk a quarter, sprint a half, walk a quarter, sprint three quarters, walk a quarter, sprint (in a manner of speaking, all things being relative) a mile. I hurt for a couple days after that, but it felt pretty good. I received new guidelines for the next three years on Tuesday and they all seemed pretty reasonable and the sun started shining yesterday! I put on 5 indoors at sub nine minute miles and 6.3 this morning at a speed a little bit better than yesterday. Maybe 3:30 is still in reach!

Other areas of life are also moving forward well. I spoke to an old friend a couple weekends ago and she really helped me put things in perspective (gave me my very own Stuart Smalley moment (daily affirmation)) and I am building relationships here in my very own Elba. Anyway, all things are moving forward. Let's hope they move forward at approximately 8:30 per mile! Cheers!!!