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Archive for the month “February, 2011”

Half Way

This is the 8th week of the 16 week marathon training program I am following for the Fargo Marathon. The mileage is creeping up and even though the half way point in the program is near the mileage in the second half far outweighs the mileage in the front half. Just like the marathon itself, the second half is when the tough need to get going with no excuses. The first 8 weeks lay the foundation for the real hard work to follow.

 I am pleased with my progress so far. It hasn’t been perfect, yet I feel like real progress has been made despite a few bumps and unexpected turns.  We can all anticipate a few deviations along the way of any plan. It is how one adjusts and keeps plugging away that will determine if the entire process will be a success. Quiting without a legitimate cause (injury for example) would be the only failure.


Marathon (I love the sound of it)

The word marathon to me just sounds cool. (pause) Marathon (pause). Maybe its just me. I often get chills just saying or even thinking the word. To me if i don’t have the word in my head I will skip the occasional workout. If marathon is in there than those workouts find a way into the schedule around a whole bunch of other stuff. Balancing work and a very busy kids’ sports schedule isn’t easy, but doable. No matter how busy a schedule there should always be a way to trim the fat off the schedule and your midsection. 

The second part of this blog on the word marathon involves my favorite question that I and most marathon runners get as well, “How long is that marathon you are going to be running?  The official answer is 26.2 miles. I guess I shouldn’t be bothered by the question as it would be like me asking a mechanic how many quarts of oil does a 8 cylinder engine take? or asking a Star Wars Fan Chubacca is a what?

Not everyone is a marathon geek like me, so I guess I have to deal with it, but on October 9th in Chicago I can relish in my geekdom with 40,000 plus others of similar geekatude.

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I had my most successful marathon pace run this winter. The paved running trail around my work’s campus was clear enough for a shot at decent time. There were a few icy spots to avoid and I came close to loosing my footing completely as my right foot slipped out in front and to the left like a football punter shanking a kick out-of-bounds. I was able to save myself without it becoming a total biff.

I was able to keep my pace miles under 8:00 minute miles just off the 7:45 goal race pace. I feel like if I didn’t have to jump over to the uneven grassy areas to avoid the ice patches I would have been right there on pace.

Overall it was very encouraging and I look forward to building in it going forward as opposed to going backward or falling flat on my back. Ok I will shut up now. Good night.

Not Sexy

With every passing year, things tend to go south. This is not a novel idea per se, yet understanding how aging has affected you over the years can make a big difference when it comes to your current training goals. The 2 main areas of concern for me are overall speed and nutrition.

I feel like I am working as hard as ever, yet when I punch in the numbers I just can’t hit the pace miles of yesteryear.

I used to be able to eat everything, but McDonald’s and not gain weight. Now if I even dream about the plate size Reuben sandwich I got after the 2004 Chicago Marathon I gain 3 pounds.

For me to battle the speed issue, I am using a completely new (to me) marathon training program for my 2011 marathons compared to past training plans. The plan emphasizes pace, pace and more pace at endurance distances, so we will see in Fargo how that works out.

On the nutrition side I have stopped drinking my calories. I don’t drink sugared pop, diet pop or beer anymore. I would like to say I don’t pig out anymore, but there have been occasions where I have hit a whole Papa Murphy’s Pizza hard. I have lost 40 pounds in the last 9 months, so the lack of pop has made a big dif.

Aging my not be sexy, however it doesn’t mean the end to a healthy life and life style. With a few modifications to your goals and plan of attack, you can see results and enjoy the ride.

I’ll take Oranges

This post will be short and sweet. It was one of the ideas I had during my Sunday run this week. It has to do with the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well I have something to say about that. Who says you have to take the lemons, I say go get oranges if that is what you want. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about theft. If the economy, your job, or your life in general is taking turns that you don’t want to make, take the path that expands your perspective.

Even rocket scientists get laid off. Sometimes a stint as a truck driver will help make one recession proof. Don’t let yourself become pigeon-holed.

Bye Bye Ideas

Running as I have said before is a great way to think about things and flesh out solutions to life’s little and big problems. It is also time to create ideas for this blog. Sometimes those ideas don’t make it home to the typed into the old laptop. Yesterday was one of those days during my 12 mile run.

I remember thinking this would be great for the blog and that would be awesome as well. The I get home and I ice my knees, carry on conversations with the kids and talk about lunch plans with my wife. When it comes time to get the blog out to the masses, all those ideas have said “Bub bye” like David Spade in an old Saturday Night Live skit.

The one idea I do remember from my run that some may find helpful has to do with bringing back a frozen hand back to life. I was wearing one pair of cotton runner’s gloves on a day where I could have used two pairs. As most runners know, those gloves become cleaning devices for glasses and noses when necessary. My left glove is for the nose and the right for the glasses. Well the left index finger and thumb became really cold and numb. I couldn’t feel them with about 20 minutes left before I would be home and warm, so I tried to cover the hand with my sleeve which helped some, but not enough. I then put my hand down the side of my running pants to where my leg met my hip. (Keep it clean people, don’t go there.) The natural running motion of my leg against my fingers caused enough friction to warm my hand to where I could feel my fingers again. It can be hard to gauge how many layers one needs to stay warm and dry. Sometimes one may come up short. Using survival skills on the run (pun intended) can be the difference between frostbite and quick recovery.

Just a Dad who also Runs

To take a turn a off the beaten running trail, I would like to give a shout out to a blog my wife wrote about the birth of our son. Of all the decisions I have been a part of, this one intailed the most research and care. If you are expecting or your loved one is, take the time to learn as much as you can so your child can have a happy and healthy life. The following blog should be a healthy place to start:

Training Plan Amendments

I as I prepare to run the streets of Fargo and Chicago (in the shadow of the John Hancock Building), which makes me think of what may be the most famous signature in the history of the free world. Hint: Think The Declaration of Independence, which makes me think of The Constitution, which makes me think of Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, which makes me think that every great plan needs to be altered once in a while. The same can be said about training plans.

Today was one of the those days. The table was set last night when I ran 6 miles later than I had hoped, finishing about 8:30. Then when I got up this morning I was sore and just didn’t think it was wise to venture out for my planned 10 mile run at 6:00 am without much sleep. I pushed my run to after my son’s basketball game(which I coached) and my daughter’s volleyball tourney(which they won!) and the hour and half drive back home. I end up running 6 miles finishing at 7:45. I cut the run from 10 to 6 due mainly to sore feet and knees from standing most of the day. Plus I don’t think I was as hydrated as I should have been.

To make up for the 4 miles, I will add that figure to my scheduled 8 mile run tomorrow. I can do 12 mile runs on back to back Sundays even though the plan calls for shorter long runs every other week. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and be as flexible as your legs should be.

60’s in Iowa

What a nice day to run in Iowa in February. 60 plus degrees for one day. One day that I will take until Spring brings those temps on a more consistent basis.

The warmer weather arrived perfectly for my marathon pace run of 7 miles. It had dipped a bit to the lower 50’s and as I was finishing up my run I thought for a moment this would have been a perfect day for a marathon.  I imagined that a race volunteer handed me a cup of water as the crowd cheered….soon enough…soon enough.

May 21st will be here soon enough. I can’t wait.

Boston Marathon Standards Change

I am getting older and I didn’t strike while the iron was hot. I qualified for Boston while I was in my late 30’s. Due to family and economic concerns I didn’t run Boston while I had the chance. Now I am going to run 2 marathons this year with the intent to qualify for Boston again and today the BAA announces the changes to the qualifying standards.

To keep this story on the shorter side. My time for my old bones is now 3:25 or less. My last 2 marathons would have fallen slightly short of that goal. I do feel like I can reach my goal, but one big hurdle then lies right behind the actual qualifying part. The registration times are weighted toward the fastest of the fast. So if 25,000 really fast dudes sign up the first week it won’t matter as the thing may close before I get a chance to register at all.

I understand the point behind the reasoning for the new standards and registering methods and am looking forward to just qualifying again. If I don’t get in became of registering issues, I will just have to get faster. If it weren’t a challenge then everyone would do it. Bring it on!

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