March 17, 2010
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Seems like a good time to bring everyone up to speed with what’s going on. It has been a very fast month…just over a month to go before I toe it up in Hopkinton.
Training has been good--it is taking some effort this month, but nevertheless it has felt good. The Porter Boys Ski Trip was a good time and I wouldn’t trade it for the world--but it did totally disrupt the training (workouts and running) and the “sensible” eating to which I had become accustomed. I also returned from skiing with a bruised right heel- not quite sure how that happened. It has been tender and more than a bit uncomfortable when I start running. After a couple miles I can almost forget about it…almost.
I finished the first round of P90X workouts. I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I am not sure if I have had such an intense workout every day for many years. As OCD as I was about doing the workouts, I am glad I did them all. Reminds me of a boxing training quote by Teddy Atlas: “If you don’t train today, it’s not that this one day is going to make you out of shape physically, it’s going to make you soft mentally. You duck what you are supposed to do today, the night of the fight you’ll think it’s okay not to face what you gotta face there. On the other hand, if you do what you’re supposed to do, on that night you’ll know you faced what you had to face every day--and you’ll draw strength from that.”
I have no doubt I drew strength from the workouts. I also have no doubt that my running has progressed the way it has due to the intensity of the workouts-- especially the plyometrics workout. “Jump Training”…just what a runner needs. And we can’t forget about the “Ab Ripper X” workout…I have discovered that I really do have some ab muscles- may not be an 8 pack yet…but I only have another pint to lose instead of a gallon. For more information about these great workouts and nutritional supplements: www.beachbodycoach.com/rayporter.
The weather has been changing…midwesterners are starting to think that spring is almost here…of course speak with any three midwesterners about the weather and be ready for three very different answers! Case and point--tune into the three weather reports on the morning news in the Quad Cities…you would swear the Quad Cities were hundreds of miles away from each other. But it is delightful to see the blue sky turning even bluer this time of year; to see more people than normal smiling; to be able to run outside without having to put on enough layers to make me look like the Michelin Man; it has been fun rediscovering some of the fields from previous year’s runs, while finding even more beauty down the next country road.
March 19, 2010
One month from today…O.K. the palms are starting to get a bit sweaty in anticipation. My first thought is that I am not ready and I need to run more. But then I look at my running log and realize I have done the distance runs, the speed runs, the pace runs, and also had the runs…probably too much information huh?
Maybe it is because I realize that I am going to Boston by myself.
Woulda…coulda…shoulda… made plans sooner, etc. etc. Anyway it will be just me in Boston. Don &Wendy may be coming from NY- not sure of that yet. I will see some old college friends- Ted & Mary Ellen and their “kids”; also hope to see some of the Bourbon Chase Team there. So maybe I won’t be so all alone after all. I will leave on Friday and return the Tuesday following the Marathon- just couldn’t see getting on a plane for 4+ hours with one lay over after running a marathon earlier in the day.
Another realization is that running this race is my dream. Not everyone shares the same dream. And I have just come to accept that is O.K. It will be me and my dream run one month from today.
March 21, 2010
As the famous NYC Marathon poster states: “At 18.5 miles you wonder why you do this…at 26.2 it all becomes perfectly clear!”
At 18.5 miles today I was certainly wondering why I was running. This was perhaps the hardest run of my training. I am not sure why- there are always many reasons, or excuses. I mentioned last month that it is hard to run when you have “Head Trash” (thank you Noah St. John) Today my head was full to overflowing. The biggest pile of head trash was that I didn’t want to leave the house and run for 22 miles…or even for one mile! I came up with all sorts of reasons not to venture out. But eventually I got out of the left side of my brain and off I went. Once I got out on the road I started coming around a little bit. Once I was about 4-5 miles into the run, I felt good--listening to tunes, the sun had popped out--it was a little chilly, but all in all a good day to run. I continued down Great River Rd through Bettendorf, past the Isle, and down the bike path to Modern Woodmen Park. By the time I got there, I felt great--a little over 11 miles in 90 minutes! WOOHOO!
And then it happened… I circled the Ball Park and the wind hit me right smack dab in the face--and all over the rest of my body. “Surely,” I thought, “this wind isn’t going to keep up this strong (15-20mph) for very long…is it?” For the next 11 miles I kept asking myself that question…and you know what? The wind didn’t keep up that strong- IT GOT STRONGER! D’OH! At 18.5 miles I was shot…legs were weak and cramping…it took everything I had inside of me to keep going.
NOTE TO SELF: If you ever do another LSD (long slow distance) run…start off into the wind….finish going downwind.
So what was the “head trash” with which I was dealing? Hmmm…
March 25, 2010
Is it really still March? This has been a month that started out very quickly and then has lasted seemingly forever. It feels like the 5th month of training for a marathon…oh wait…it is! 25 days from today I will be running to Boston. In the meantime it has just been nice to be able to run outside on a few occasions. I ran 7 miles on Tuesday outside… 6 miles last night…and 5 miles tonight. Tonight’s run was good- 5 miles in just over 42 minutes.
March 27, 2010
I have been asked repeatedly if I am excited about going to Boston to run in the Marathon. The easiest and truest answer is: “Of course I am…don’t be ridiculous!” But I also have to admit, I am a bit anxious. Part of the “head trash” with which I was dealing on my LSD run on Sunday was this question: “What am I doing lining up with the 25,000 other best marathoners in the world?” And the second one which immediately follows is: “Are you out of your flippin’ mind?”
Those questions and many more have been haunting me for the last week or so. They nag at me when I run…they nag at me when I am driving down the road and see other runners- younger and faster runners- glide down the road….they nag me when they wake me up at night. Before I get to Hopkintown, I need to resolve these questions in my head and in my spirit.
Do I ask myself these questions every time I get to the START line? I probably do. And if I don’t, then why am I running in that race? Isn’t the feeling of competition one that raises the blood pressure…gets the adrenalin flowing…makes one a little sharper and on edge? It is not that I feel as though I need to compete with the other runners- O.K….I do; it is not that I need to prove myself to anyone…O.K….I do; it’s not that I expect to win- O.K….this is my fantasy, so of course I do.
Two quotes come to mind at this point. The first one is a quote attributed to Steve Prefontaine: “A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more. And the second one is from a great little known race movie about the Boston Marathon called ‘St. Ralph’: “If you aren’t chasing miracles…why does it matter?”
Another question I have been asked repeatedly over the last couple of weeks is that: “What are your goals in Boston…any time in mind? Anyone who knows me or who has read this blog since the beginning knows I have two goals for every marathon: 1) To finish, and 2) Not die. (NOTE: The 3rd goal used to be “Qualify to run the Boston Marathon.”) When I tell people, they smile or chuckle and then ask: “But really…what time do you want to run?” I am at the point that the time isn’t an important thing anymore. O.K., I will add a 3rd goal for April 19 predicting how long it is going to take me to run to Boston: as long- or short- as it takes me to enjoy the entire experience which is the Boston Marathon. And did I say however long- or short- it takes.
The reality check is this- I know I am not going to win the Boston Marathon on April 19th. (although I do have a chance… like the other 25000 runners all faint for four hours or so…) But am I going to compete and leave everything out there…of course I am; am I going to try and prove to somebody/anybody/myself that I can run, finish and not die in this marathon…of course I am; am I going to be doing a physical/mental/spiritual gut check for 26.2 miles…yep; am I going to punish myself into exhausting pace and then punish myself even more…without doubt;, and…
Will I always chase miracles? Now that is the easiest question of them all…
March 28, 2010
Early morning: As I ran and biked yesterday I wondered when I would receive the B.A.A.’s Official 2010 Boston Marathon Runner Information Packet. It was like they read my mind. When I went to the mailbox- there it was. Needless to say, although I just did, I opened it immediately and read it from cover to cover. My Bib # is 17739- which means that I will be in Corral #17 and go off in the 2nd wave of runners starting at 10:30. After doing 113 of these races, the B.A.A. appears to have this race “somewhat” organized. As a first time runner, I greatly appreciate this. One of the biggest stresses in running is getting to the start line on time and ready to go. I either get in the runners corral too early- causing my legs and body to stiffen up, or I get there and wind up at the very end of everyone- causing me to dodge and weave through hundreds of people before reaching my stride. (Note: for the record…walkers should not be allowed to line up and start until the very last runner is over the Start line.)
Afternoon: I just returned home from a 14 mile run. It was 40 degrees with a 20 mph north wind. After re-reading my post from last Sunday’s LSD before heading out, I started out the right way. Luckily the direction I was running today, it was a 20 mph crosswind. Running with a 20 mph wind cutting across a body in stride is not the easiest way to run. When the wind slowed down or stopped, I found it interesting that my body leaned, and then fell, into the direction from where the wind was coming.
All in all, it was a good run. I averaged 8:55 min/mile. The first 10 miles were easier than anticipated. I purposely started out on hills and ended on hills.
March 31, 2010
It is the last day of the month. It has been an interesting month. The 5th month of marathon training always is an interesting month. It is the time when my Body starts to tell my Brain: “Enough already…give me a break…I am at 18.5 miles and wondering very loudly WHY!!! and just STOP!!!!!” But my Spirit continues to tell my Brain: “You are doing fine…You can do it…just one more mile…just one more stride….it is just about race day…at 26.2 miles it will all be perfectly clear!”
Am I ready? I still have 19 days…