Wednesday, May 09, 2012
I've been researching ultra marathons...
When I went to pick up my packet the day before my race (North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain - Half Marathon) a lot of the 50 milers were coming in, along with the marathoners, 50k, and Marathon relay participants. They do the longer events on Saturday and the Half, 10K and 5K on Sunday. I was mesmerized by the 50 milers.
All participants receive a red technical shirt, you then head over to the shirt screening tent and tell them which event you've done or are going to do and they screen it for you. I was on line with a couple of 50 milers and yes I was staring in awe at the attractive but otherwise normal looking 30 something year old man and woman and I stupidly asked with the slightest tone of incredulity, "you just ran 50 miles?" They looked over at me, shrugged their shoulders and nonchalantly, said, "yeah". Well, I was impressed, as were my 13 y.o. son and his good buddy who came up with me.
Days later I'm still in awe and now I'm contemplating running that race next year.
Monday, May 07, 2012
For you runners out there! Do you give nicknames to the other runners when you race?
From the Half Marathon a couple of weeks ago there was: "Zombie Man" as he was talking about a weird race in NJ where Zombies chase you... Zombie man was struggling at mile 4 when I passed him; 5K Lady, she was super nice (runner’s high?) as she passed me at mile 3, she had only run 5Ks up until then... I caught up and passed her at around mile 9 towards the base of the monster hill; the Bankers, they were a 50 something trio and they were going on about money issues at mile 4, I kept them in my sights, caught them at mile 8, talked with them -- "you're doing great," said one of the ladies, "she really means that as she's not a very nice person," said the guy... they all laughed. They were concerned as this was my first race, they wanted to be sure that I was hydrating and 'jelling' appropriately. I left them on the monster hill at about 9.5 miles.
At about 6.5 miles I caught up to this older gentleman who looks just like Burt Yasso -- I kid you not. I quickly learned that it wasn't him when he started asking me basic beginner running questions, he was a super nice guy though. He started making these loud noises, "Woo-HA!" and such which was starting to concern me... I think he was trying to match my pace... so I bid him farewell after a mile and a half so he could slow the heck down and not have a heart attack or something.
The guy parked next to me was The Professor. He was a very stately and elegant man, perhaps 60 something. “You picked a tough Half Marathon for your first race.” He gave a very clueless me advice on how and where to pin the number and what to do with the chip that was attached to the number. I saw him at the end of the race.
There was Jack Black and the Hipsters. Jack Black was slightly heavy set guy that I never talked to until after the race but we eyed up each other and he passed me after a while as he was committed to doing a 10 min pace... I ran 10:05. The Hipsters were these two cool 20 something local guys who run the race every year. Lenin, one of the Hipsters, was tightening up so I cruised on at 10.5 miles and dug in for the remainder of the race.
In yesterday’s race -- The North Face Endurance Challenge Half Marathon at Bear Mountain -- there weren’t as many folks who received my nicknames but here are a few: Jack Black II, we had the same trail running shoes, he also didn’t talk but he wasn’t as fast as Jack I. The Businessman, an odd fellow who wore a button down oxford shirt. The New York Giants, two HUGE guys, super nice, “we prefer the trails, running on pavement is no good for us”, they were telling me at mile 5 (where I passed them). They reassured me later, “...you’ll see us around, we stick out,” when I saw them at the finish line.
My companion from the start until the awful sharp rock zone was Barefoot Dude (Kirt)... a doctor and dad of two little ones who ran the 1K kid race. The Soccer Moms who had a nice pace until the ‘Mountains’ where Barefoot Dude and I passed them. Oh, and how can I forget, Runner’s World Cover Girl... a Nordic Goddess in sporty fashionable but tiny shorts and just a sports bra and six pack abs... unfortunately she ran behind me for most of the race!
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
I'm just getting to a point (almost there!) where I can write about Sunday's Half -- such a wonderful experience. However, my pesky right achilles starting to hurt about half way though. I ran for 30 mins yesterday and did a ST workout afterwards. Seems like I've had a jump in fitness, I ran an avg of 10 min miles easily within my first zone, 65% and under. Nice...
The achilles felt better today. Instead of icing it as I've been the last couple of days... I did a foot ice bath... (at work today, I washed out my paper recycle bin, loaded it with ice and water and in that foot went!) can we say COLD! I did 15 mins... too long! then another 10 mins... From now on 10 mins, break then 10 more mins. I'm feeling optimistic about getting it healthy. Took today off, tomorrow I'll run again.
Ok, some goals: the Marathon is Oct 7th... by then I'll be 25 lbs lighter (5lbs a month... doable) and running 8:45 for a 3:50 marathon. Doable? Why yes, yes it is!!
Sunday, April 15, 2012
A member of one of the Spark Boards I'm on posted the question, "Why run a marathon?" She signed up for an October race like I have and seems to be checking her motivations and perhaps is looking for a bit of encouragement.
I'm really enjoying contemplating this question. I've been training for a Half Marathon that is now just a week away. It's my first race since college track, ages ago, when I was sprinter/hurdler and the distance runners seemed like aliens. About 10 years ago I started walking then running and lost 50 lbs. I have since gone through several cycles of gaining and losing weight. A year ago I settled into a new community where life is more stable and instead of a 60 to 90 minute commute work is 3 minutes away on foot. I decided to pick a race and train for it.
Training has taken me from being an off again on again jogger into becoming an athlete once again. It's been a tremendous learning experience and after 7 months I feel like I'm just scratching the surface of this sport. There's always something new to experience, an envelope to be pushed, breakthroughs being made and sometimes setbacks to go through and learn from. Sometimes my runs take me on (nearly) wild adventures that bring a level of fun and excitement like I've not had since childhood. Other runs have been more routine... but every one of them gives me a sense of accomplishment and gives me valuable lessons, tangible and intangible.
Last weekend while in Williamsburg, VA visiting my folks, I ran 13 miles (ok, 12.75), it flew by. What once seemed like a really long distance now is just par for course. The 2nd half of the run I picked up the pace -- which wasn’t my intention, this was to be a long slow run -- I got faster and then faster. I had thrown out the original plan and was running at my ‘Joy’ pace and having a blast. Interestingly, running fast can give me a sense of flight. So one of my ‘whys’ is, “I want to fly.”
So why do I want to run a marathon? I started with the goal of running a Half Marathon. Training has gone well my long runs got longer and longer... 5 miles turned 6, 7.4, 8.5, 10 miles on up to 15. Half of the time I’d announce the latest distance achieved on Facebook and get dozens of thumbs-ups and comments. Well, I’ve really enjoyed these runs! A couple of months ago I was actually anxious about what to do after the Half in April. I started researching and reading about Marathons and decided that indeed, I’m ready, this will be the year that I run one. Ok, decision made. I then decided to do one either 9 or 11 weeks after my second Half (after next Sunday’s Half (April 22) I’m doing a trail Half two weeks later, (May 6). Well, folks on this board and other ones seriously recommended that I rethink doing a Marathon so soon afterwards, I was convinced. So, I decided to shoot for an October race.
Why? I’m having a ton of fun, learning a great deal, being challenged in new and exciting ways as I fall in love with this sport. It’s helping me to create a desired level of health and keeping me sane (and out of trouble)! On most days, I love running. I have a desire to be stronger and faster than I am today and running a marathon will help make this happen.
Why? For the sheer joy of it!
Monday, March 19, 2012
I had a Woo Hoo Week!
Monday, 14.7 mile long slow run;
Wednesday 8 min repeats @ 8:57 pace, total of 6.3 miles;
Friday 7.9 hilly run, 1200 feet of elevation, some of it I even had to climb FUN;
Sunday 90 mins easy, @ 11:03 pace (a new easy pace for me) for 8.15 miles, 3 min rest then a 28:16 min 5K just 11 seconds slower than a 5K trial run I did when I was fresh a couple of weeks ago, 11.25 miles. (I then went to my favorite hour long yoga class).
Total mileage for the week -- 40 miles -- longest ever. WOO HOO!
My first Half is 5 weeks away and I'm feeling ready!
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