Monday, February 04, 2013
You know how once in a while everything falls into perfect alignment?
Today the weather was great, beautiful flat course, crowd support, food and water on the course. Beforehand, good training, lots of rest, good attitude, everything fell into place nicely.
Also, I had done some research on muscle cramping. Which was a big problem for me on my first full marathon. Two known causes - muscular overexertion, and low sodium (some say potassium depletion also). There is lots of anecdotal evidence that drinking 'pickle juice' can stop cramps. Use it as a preventative measure, or during cramping. So, I took 8 oz of pickle juice with added salt with me today. Tastes pretty bad but I had no significant cramping.
Yesterday I picked up my packet at the DoubleTree Hilton in Tallahassee. Tallahassee downtown is beautiful and the park across from DoubleTree is nice and had adequate parking.
Went back to my hotel for more rest. Fell asleep early that evening. Set two alarms, as usual, and woke up on time. Had all my 'stuff' ready. My room didn't have a coffee pot, so I went out to the RV and brewed myself a cup, and heated up some oatmeal, my usual pre-race breakfast.
My DW called and wished me well. She had craft fairs and art fairs to attend yesterday, so wouldn't tag along on this one.
When I got to the race site, I called my grandson. He was nearby and would see me shortly. He arrived just minutes before the start of the race, we said hello and I got in the crowd and placed myself near the end.
There were only 308 full marathoners and over 700 half marathoners.
Most of this run was on a small paved trail. Very enjoyable for me. Considering this was a smaller race with only about 1,000 participants there was a lot of support from the community. Probably had 20 groups of folks along the way. Some of them in costume! Even the road guards cheered us on.
The race got off to a slow start, maybe that was good, it forced me to start slowly. There was no room to accelerate from my spot in the back of the pack. I forgot to check my watch at the first mile but I imagine it was probably a 13/14 minute mile pace. Okay, I could make that up. I'd planned for an 11mm pace. Not being an elite athlete I knew my second half would be a longer time than my first half. I kept checking my watch and I was consistently running 10:45 or close to that - the miles ticked by. At the half marathon point the clock said I was right at 2:21 gun time - not bad, about what I wanted. I chugged on through to the turnaround which was at mile 14.
Coming back down the trail, more than halfway done, at mile 16 I see something out of place going on. About a tenth of a mile ahead of me, I see a woman coming towards me, look around, and turn back and go the other way! She was in the clear, and thought no one saw her. I sped up, and finally caught up to her and looked back at her bib number. I fully intended to report her, and I did. She was stealing from every other runner in that race, and possibly could steal an award away for someone. At the spot she turned back, she had effectively clipped about 4 miles off her marathon distance.
So back to the race, I was feeling great at this point. I took in a lot of 'GU' and water. My energy level was still very high. The miles were flying by. Maybe keeping track of my pace kept me so preoccupied that I lost track of my miles markers. I was often surprised at what mile I was passing. It seemed to be going quickly. At mile 20, still felt great, then I got some mild cramping. Took a couple of slugs out of my pickle juice concoction. The pain subsided. I think it began around mile 23 that I started to feel a loss of energy, but I had run so fast up to this point I felt I could break 5 hours easily if I didn't get into trouble.
I was slowing down. At this point I had been running with two other old coots, both in their late 60s. We chided ourselves for being at the back of the pack, but these guys, like me, were not about to give up. You could see the effort on their faces as they forced onward. I'd pass one or two of them, then walk for a bit, they'd pass me. Great fun - no competition here. I met and talked to several guys in my AG. There were a lot of older runners here.
Now I exit the running trail which had, in many places, a tree canopy and plenty of shade, now I'm out in the sun. My 'perfect marathon' began to get tough. Not exactly 'hills', let's just say a few inclines for the last mile and a half or so. The wind was really blowing now, too - directly into my face. This was tough going. I hunkered down, and pushed on, but it was really difficult now. Feeling a bit sorry for myself, that I was running up an incline against the wind, in the sun. But. My time was still so good, I knew I was going to finish under 5 hours. I was so glad I had that time buffer built in, because I was slowing down quite a bit now.
The finish line was on the track of the FSU campus. I ran through the gate onto the track and there was grandson Doug and his beautiful wife, Brandi. Smiling and clapping. What words can sound better than "Way to go, Grandpa, you're looking good"? Icing on the cake, for sure.
I struggled around the track.The announcer called out my name and hometown over the P.A. - another nice touch.
I had completed a second marathon a mere 3 months after my first. The kids came over to congratulate me, and I could hardly speak. I was really beat. I recovered really quickly, though.
My final time was 4:53:24. Almost 27 minutes off my previous effort! How did that happen? Everything just fell into place, that's how. The almost perfect marathon.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.
Saturday, February 02, 2013
Had a good nights rest. I'm carbed up, fat and happy. The weatherman is predicting cool weather. The course has been called "flat as a pancake". All good news for my 2nd marathon.
Spark people has been a huge part of my training and racing efforts. In my offline life I am kind of a loner, don't do group runs. Don't know a lot of local runners, except nodding at them on my runs. So, I do get lots of moral support from you guys. So, it's my friends right here in addition to my family that motivates me.
I'm seeking a pain and injury free run primarily. Of course, I wouldn't mind lopping a few minutes off my previous effort. That was 5 hr 20 min 04 seconds.
Here's hoping that this 66 year old man is still able to grow, and has not peaked, or God forbid, begun the downhill slide yet.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Friday, January 25, 2013
Tapering for my first marathon drove me nuts. I was new to this and wanted to run all the time. Like all new things for me, I tend to get obsessive. I wanted to run everyday, and my aging body would not allow.
Now that I've been doing this for about a year and a half, I'm more accustomed to it, and feeling less inclined to overdue. Nice. I know my limitations, yet I continue to push on to strengthen until I peak. A delicate balancing act, training without overtraining.
My tapering process has returned. I've done my longest runs. I maxed out with a 22 mile LR; now my longest run, tomorrow, will only be 10 miles. I ran a shorter 4 miler and a 6 miler already this week.
Not piling on the miles during taper weeks is rather enjoyable this time around. I find myself with time on my hands, so I do other stuff to keep me busy.
I know I'm 'allowed' to eat a bit more too, to store up the glycogen supplies in anticipation of the approaching massive assault on my old muscles, tendons and bones. Another benefit - eating!
Yeah, taper weeks are kind of nice this time around.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
10 second commercial followed by video of my nephew Nick Newell, being refused entry into Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The quote from UFC President, Dana White is shocking to me, but I give him points for honesty.
Hoping Nick will eventually prevail and gain admittance into the #1 MMA venue, which is the UFC.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
One of my other hobbies is ham radio. My interest got started with radio stuff when I was a teenager. My grandmother bought me a transistor radio, which had a short wave band on it. I used to lie in bed at night and listen to the distant AM radio stations from the US and overseas. Also, I heard the shore stations sending and receiving morse code to and from the ships at sea. I was fascinated with the patterns and wondered how this strange language worked.
Years later when I joined the Navy, I tested high in morse code aptitude, and was offered "Radio School". I did well with the morse code, my electronics not so well. I passed school and was sent to the Panama Canal Zone at Navy Radio Balboa, and was assigned the CW (continuous wave, or morse code) station quickly. I rapidly progressed to high speed CW, and have loved morse code ever since.
So the years passed, and I got my ham radio ticket, and I continued with my love of CW. I often operate high speed. There are few people who do this kind of speed, and it becomes necessary to go much slower if you want to accommodate and communicate with others via morse code. However, one must exercise high speed if one desires to maintain this level of speed. It can be stressful operating at just above ones maximum speed, but that's how you improve. For what it's worth, I am talking about 40 to 50 words per minute, a very fast pace.
So, all this typing to express what I have found to be, the similarities between CW/morse code exercise, and running exercise. The paces in each can be stressful or relaxing. But both paces are necessary to maintain a useful fun filled stride. To backtrack for a bit, I cannot compare my skills in running to my radio skills, one is average - the other is excellent. But, the comparison remains, regardless of skill level.
I thought about writing this blog when I participated in a radio exercise on January 1st of this year. We had an event called "Straight Key Night" whereby ham operators are asked to get back to their roots and use a hand key rather than an electronic keyer.
To chat more and relax more with other like minded hams. This once a year event is very popular, and there were lots of straight key operators on that night, and early the next day. I talked to 14 different stations and had a swell time. This pace for me, in not uncomfortable, and enjoyable. Even though I am capable of the higher speeds, I acclimate myself to the pace and enjoy.
There can me much enjoyment in the excitement of fast pacing and knowing you are in an elite category of participants. And, the converse is true, there is also much enjoyment to be gained in the slower stride of just enjoying a hobby for the sake of doing it.
I hesitated to write this blog, because it necessitated a longwinded explanation of ham radio. My first draft was really long, so I shortened it a lot. If you've gotten this far in the reading, thanks for sticking with me and I hope you've found it interesting.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.
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