Tuesday, April 17, 2012
It's Springtime in Las Vegas. That means it's time for roller-coaster weather.
On March 31 the high was 85.
April 1 was 67.
April 4 was 82.
April 6 was 67 again.
April 9 and 10 was up to 87.
April 14th was down to 58.
Today it's back up to 81.
I think I'm going to puke.
So, just one week after the weather in the valley dipped into the 50's with rain and it snowed in the local mountains, I will run my first race on Saturday where the forecast high is 94 degrees. And my second race on Sunday has forecast high of 98.
I kid you not.
Thank you, weather dot come, for this lovely bit of horrible news.
Fortunately, the race will be run in the local mountains with elevations between 4600' - 5400' (compared to 2,100 in the valley) which *should* keep temperatures at least 10-15 degrees cooler. We will also be on the west side of the mountains which may also give us some helpful extra shade for the first part of the race when the low temperatures should hover in the 60-70 degree range. There will not, however, be any real tree cover to speak of since the treeline begins at around 7,000' on the east side and over 8,000' on the east side. Will just be fields of scrub brush, Joshua Tree, and the occasional stunted Pinyon/Juniper.
This is one of the few times I will also be grateful for the 7:30am early morning start time. By the time it begins to really warm up, I will hopefully be hitting the 8.5 mile mark and the long descent down to the finish line.
I was planning to pack some cold weather gear - just in case - but it seems without some major shift in the weather that may be a pointless exercise. I would probably be better served by packing a few extra water bottles in an ice box and some extra sunscreen.
Look for me. I'll be the one wearing flip-flops, zinc oxide and a wide-brimmed hat.
Monday, April 16, 2012
I had been hoping that my run on Saturday was going to be a good one to boost my confidence going into my race this weekend. In the end, it was helpful, but not as helpful as I had hoped.
When my wife and I joined the new gym a few weeks ago, the manager let us know about the local running club that meets there on Wednesday nights, and then we both added their page on facebook. The manager said that they would run no matter the weather.
So, on Thursday, he posted that he and the owner were going to be there on Saturday morning at 8 to run 5 miles and encouraged everyone to join them.
My run on Saturday was going to be 9 or 10 miles, so when I finally got out the door at 7:10, I decided that I would run 4 miles, and then turn and run the extra half mile down to the gym and meet them and then run 5 miles with them to give me somewhere between 9 and 10 total miles.
I had never run with the running club, so the one thing I was worried about was how fast everyone else would be running since they were doing only 5 miles and I would already have run over 4 miles and would be tiring as I would be finishing close to 10.
Well, it seemed like a good idea, but it didn't work out as I planned it. Since I was running 4 miles before meeting them, I ended up running those 4 miles as if I was ONLY running 4 miles - a little too fast.
It was drizzling all morning, but when I got to the gym a little early and no one was there, I just figured they hadn't shown up yet. 5 minutes after 8, there was still no one else there, so I called my wife who informed me that the manager had cancelled the run.
Oh, well. I was still going to get my full run in, anyway, and at least I didn't have to worry about keeping up with anybody.
I stopped in at the Wal-Mart that was next door and hit the men's room and the drinking fountain. Then I ran the last 5+ miles of my run. I definitely ran slower than the first 4 or so. About half way in I got a side stitch that finally went away after a mile.
Also, towards the end I was definitely tiring. That made for some interesting mental games. I really wanted to speed up and run strong to prove to myself that it was just a mental thing (and also so I could finish sooner); however, I also wanted to stay at a slow pace to conserve energy since my race was just a week away and I was technically starting my taper, so there was no real good reason to speed up and run hard and wear myself out. So, I battled back and forth inside my head over whether or not to speed up and push myself, or keep it slow and smart. In the end, I kept it slow to the end to conserve energy which really was the smartest thing.
I ended up running just short of 10 miles (9.9). The first 4.5 paced at around 9:15 minutes/mile. The second 5.5 paced almost right at 10 minutes/mile. In retrospect, my pace for the last 5.5 miles isn't really as slow as it felt. I felt like I was running closer to 10:30/mile. So, it really was a pretty good run, I just didn't like how tired I felt for the last few miles. But, maybe if I hadn't stopped for 15 minutes while trying to meet the running club, or stopped for water at Wal-Mart - I would've felt better and maybe wouldn't have had that side stitch.
The part that's making me nervous, tho, is my Sunday run. My Sunday run was just 4 miles. This is my "day after my lsd" run. I know I can finish my race on Saturday. My "day after my lsd" run is supposed to ensure that I will be able to finish my race on Sunday.
My Sunday run I ran slow and easy, but from the start I felt tired and sluggish. My chest felt somewhat constricted like it was a little more difficult to breath than usual. Can't say I've really had that problem before. Usually it's tired or sore legs, not a breathing problem. I was still able to finish my 4 miles, but it was slow and difficult and I was having difficulty imaging running 9.1 more miles while feeling that way.
So, my confidence is a little higher than before after a pretty good run on Saturday, but thanks to Sunday, it's not as high as I want it to be.
But, in my head, I know that finishing these races is something that I've challenged myself to do and that I MUST do. I don't care if I have to walk or crawl. I WILL finish both of these races. I don't care how bad (or good!) I feel.
Last week I didn't get to sleep on time and I know that's caused issues with me in the past. So, this week I'm determined to make sure I get to sleep by 9, and definitely no later than 9:30, every night.
This week is my taper, so I'll be running 4 miles on Tuesday, 3 on Wednesday, and 2 on Thursday. I need to make sure I get to bed on time so I can get plenty of rest every night because I will be up around 4:45am every morning to do my runs. My races this weekend both start at 7:30am and are an hour's drive away, so I will need to be in bed by 8:30pm the night before so I can be up at 4:45am to eat and get dressed and then be out of the house by 5:30am.
I can do this and I WILL do this. I know I can do the first race no problem. As long as I take it easy, I will have energy left for the second race. And as long as I finish the first race, I don't care how much energy I have left for the second race because I will finish if I have to piggy-back on a turtle. I'm definitely bringing my Camelbak for both races which will be filled with 1/3 Gatorade and 2/3 water. I will also have a pack of peanut butter m&m's in the pocket for emergency energy. The rest is all mental preparation.
I WILL do it.
I pray God will give me the strength and I will use that strength.
"Do or do not. There is no try." ~ Yoda
"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." ~ John Wooden
"It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it." ~ John Wooden
"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful." ~ John Wooden
Friday, April 13, 2012
This is the race I will be running a week from this Saturday and Sunday.
It's funny how I feel somehow inadequate because I'm *only* running the half marathon distance while most of the races being put on are ultras which means I'm running in the second shortest races of the weekend. In any other race setting, the half marathon would be either the furthest or second furthest.
In any case, I will be getting 3 medals! I will get a medal for the race on Saturday, another for Sunday, and then a third "Love Me Two Times" medal for running races on both days.
How will I do?
If you had asked me that question 4 weeks ago, I would've told you these races were going to be a piece of cake and I had it in the bag and maybe even would push myself more than I really planned to in both races.
Now, I'm coming off 2 weeks of full rest from having hurt my back... and this week I have been feeling drained with an upset and crampy stomach from having the stomach flu last weekend which also made me run poorly during my 10 mile run on Saturday and skip my Sunday run.
Now, I am concerned that I won't even be able to finish one race, much less races on consecutive days.
I really need a good run this weekend to boost my confidence.
In any case, I still have 9 days to taper and for my body to rebuild it's energy (and my GI tract). I will just have to take it slowly and carefully for the first race and then I can relax and enjoy the second one.
I've been training for these races since the end of December. I can't let a couple weeks ruin the whole experience for me. I am going to do this.
Monday, April 09, 2012
Well, I'm sick, again, so this is going to be short (as short as I can make it) so I can get myself to bed.
My wife and daughter both came down with a stomach virus Thursday night. Daughter started by puking and scared me to death. In the middle of the night my wife started feeling sick, too. I hoped it was short-live because a sick wife and a sick child at the same time is no fun. I also hoped I wouldn't get it.
So, Saturday, I still was doing good, so I went for my scheduled 10 mile run. Because of a busy schedule and making sure everyone else wasn't still sick on Saturday morning, I pushed back my run until almost 10am.
The first mile was fine, but somewhere leading up to mile 2 I started to feel unusually tired.
I know I wasn't THAT out of shape from missing two weeks of training. After all, I ran 5 and 6 miles the previous Sat & Sun and felt great. I then ran 5 miles, 3 miles, and 5 miles on Tues, Wed, and Thurs respectively, and felt no worse for wear. So, I was surprised when I was feeling tired and sapped of energy.
At mile 6 I stopped and walked for a quarter-mile (about 4.5 minutes) because my legs were feeling sapped. After that started running again and managed to finish off my run (ended up being 10.5 miles because I had to dodge a road closed due to never-ending construction), but the last 2 miles were a real slog.
My wife was coming home from shopping with our daughter in tow when she decided to drive past me and cheer me on. She yelled out "How are feeling?" and I yelled back, "Terrible!" She then yelled back "Want a ride?" and I yelled back "No!" I felt energized for the next mile after they drove off, but then slowed back down. Fortunately I didn't live to regret the decision not to accept that ride.
I finished, but wow was I wiped out.
Later in the day my wife noticed I was sunburned. Usually I start my long weekend runs between 5 and 7am and have never gotten sunburned on a run, so it didn't cross my mind to apply it. Oops! Next time I either need to start earlier, or remember the sunscreen. Fortunately, it's not too bad. Just enough to be annoying, but not painful (unless I scrape it on something).
Saturday night/Sunday morning I started getting stomach cramps and today I had the full blown stomach flu. That would probably explain my poor run on Saturday. My body was probably already starting to fight it off, so it sapped my energy. I know I ate fine (I even had breakfast before my run, which I usually don't) and was plenty hydrated before my run. If that was the problem, it should've hit me well beyond the 3 or 5 mile mark.
Anyway, I survived to tell the tale. With Easter on Sunday and busy schedule with brunch and an egg hunt and all that good stuff, we weren't sure how I was going to fit in my Sunday run. Well, the stomach flu solved that problem. I managed to survive the morning with the aid of my good friend Pepto and went to breakfast, tho all I had was a couple bits of wheat toast and a glass of water.
Well, that's one way to lose weight... Bleh. Except that I don't need to lose any more. But, if my wife is any sign, it's a good one since she felt better in less than 48 hours.
Okay, time for me to get some rest.
Good night, all.
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