Tuesday, June 29, 2010


The other day I watched Bart vs. Comrades and couldn't wait to start training for my race.

Right at the end when Bart is talking about how he left everything on the course, that he had nothing left, that's how I want to feel at the end of the Pensacola Marathon in November. More than reaching my time goal, my ultimate goal is to know that I tried my absolute best, that I couldn't have done any better, or run any faster than I did. Like Lou Holtz says, "If you settle for second place, when first is available, you'll do it for the rest of your life."

I'm thinking I'm going to follow one of Hal Higdon's plans for this one, with adding some speed training somewhere in the week. I'm just pumped to begin, and I hope that I can carry that motivation into the rest of training.

"I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle -"


~Vince Lombardi

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Time to Refocus Goals

Hey all,

About a week or so ago I found out that I might be moving a bit earlier than I had planned for the next job. We're talking January instead of July or August. As a result, I've pretty much scrapped the Florida Keys 100 plan.

Since I said MIGHT I'm not going to focus on any races in particular for next year. That leaves me the Pensacola Marathon in November. It's pretty close to home, cheap, and flat. Should be a good way to get back into the swing of things to kill this post-50 funk I'm in.

This race wasn't actually my idea, it was Emily's!

.... I was shocked too

She wanted to run the half-marathon race and said I should do the full. She twisted my arm, bent my fingers in the wrong direction, and pulled my hair until I relented and said I would run the race.

Just kidding, I was in right away.

This is my only race planned for this season, so I'm going to up the goals a little bit. By up the goals a little bit, I mean try for a PR. Not just a "back to racing" PR but lifetime PR for the marathon. My previous best was 3:45 at the Marshall University Marathon in Huntington, VA way back in 2005. That means I'm shooting for 3:30 here. I figure the weather and the flatness of Florida will be working in my favor here. For those of you who are embarrassed to try math in public, this equates to just slower than an 8 minute mile.

When was the last time I trained at 8 minute miles? I have 10 minute pace engrained into my head! That means speed training....


I'm going to have to come up with a plan...

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Purge Round 2

The Purge is on!

What the hell is the Purge?

The Purge is my colossal attempt to rid all things unhealthy from my diet and turn myself into someone who resembles a fit person.

The Purge Round 1 was to eliminate soda and all types of caffeine from my diet. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a caffeine and soda junkie. 6 to 10 sodas a day wouldn't phase me at all, along with coffee (if you were buying), chocolate, or energy drinks, all those too. I could tell that it was really contributing to my inability to lose weight. I would run and do P90X every day for a month and I maybe lost three pounds. On March 26, I drank my last Dr. Pepper (my personal favorite). 80 days ago, the cravings have mostly subsided, but I still get them maybe once or twice a day. Better than the splitting, day-ending headaches I got the first week. I spent probably 60% of a week TDY in my hotel bed due to withdrawals. Given where I came from, once a day is easy to deal with. For the past 80 days, its only water or milk that I drink, nothing else. I'm declaring round 1 complete.

Round 2: Work out every day. Now that I eliminated the majority of my junk calories, I can begin to cut down on the spare tire I've been lugging around. Right now, its P90X. I started Friday morning so that the easier days are on PT days so I won't be completely wasted. I'm also sticking to my running routine so that I won't lose any time on my training. Running comes first, but I'm going to try my hardest to stick with P90X as well. Almost done with the first week, just one more hard workout left and it's all downhill til Friday.

I also went swimming in the base pool yesterday morning. Emily would swim down the length of the pool, and somehow I would make it down there too. She would power her way down there, even with me saying I'd wait for her on this end while I'm pushing off the wall to swim. Somehow I talked myself into a half mile, after not swimming in years! The last time I swam more than a lap was freshman year of high school 8 years ago.

Half mile = stupid

I am so sore right now. There was a triathlon guy doing laps in the lane next to me, putting both Emily and I to shame, and I have no clue how he did it. I'm thinking it's going to become a weekly thing, me doing a half mile, until I can slowly start to increase it.

Anyways, that's the update for now. I'm sore as hell every day and it feels good, but it hurts so bad too. 11 months to the Keys 100 and I need to start taking this seriously. Time to respect the distance.

And so The Purge continues...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Getting My Mojo Back

51 weeks to go!

I've felt pretty good during these few shorter runs this past week. I'm starting to feel like I'm back in the groove of training, and all the side effects are starting to show up again, and I love it. I eat more but I'm still hungry. My legs feel like slabs of cement that I have to drag around all day. I feel a little more awake, and whenever I walk somewhere, I silently wish I were running there. I feel like I have my mojo back.

I first heard the phrase "mojo" related to running in a Runners World article about Scott Jurek and his current slump. I won't go into my opinions much on the article itself, lets just say that I don't agree with how the author put pressure on Scott to win the 24 hour championship. Anyways, the author kept referring to this "mojo". I really didn't fully understand what it was until I went TDY to China Lake, CA. Over a weekend, I went up to the Whitney Portal on Mount Whitney and I instantly understood what it was.

First, Mount Whitney is the highest point in the lower 48 states. Second, and most importantly to me, its where the finish line is to the Badwater Ultramarathon. I am a huge fan of that race and someday wish to participate in it, and maybe even finish it. The picture at the top of this site is taken at the starting line.

My friends were all fishing in the small streams around the portal. I didn't have a rod, so I just rammed around in the snow around the parking lot. I'd go up some hill, then run down the other side. Not just jogging around, but running. Really running. The kind of running you see on playgrounds and from kids chasing the ice cream truck. I was exhausted from the effort and the elevation, but I kept running around anyways. I had my mojo back. The whole ride back to Ridgecrest, that's all I could think about, was running around Mount Whitney, feeling the awesome energy that surrounds that place. I know that sounds a little hippie, but thats what I felt there, the energy of the finish line, and the portal to the top of the mountain. It's where I decided that I would give the Keys 100 a real shot. I can't wait to go back to Whitney.

Hopefully this "mojo" lasts me until I get to the finish in Key West, and hopefully I don't promptly lose it afterwards and take a year off. I'm gonna try my best to keep it going this time. Here goes nothing...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Here I Go Again

Ok folks, I know it's been a long time coming, but I'm back in training starting this week!

Now, a little back story... I raced in and completed the Keys 50 almost a year ago today. I finished in just a little under 13 hours, which kinda sucks, but oh well, it was a good first try at getting back into this sport. I learned (and relearned) a lot on that trip, but that was a year ago, and this isn't a year delayed race report, so I'll leave it at that. It was a fun trip though. Throughout the race, I carried a ring in my pocket which I eventually gave to my soon-to-be wife the next evening (getting on one knee was embarrassing, but I did it anyway, for the sake of formality). Now Emily is here with me in Florida, and life is much, much better

Anyways, all that aside, it's been a year. I was plagued with IT band syndrome which caused me to all but give up on the ultra-running thing. But I'm pissed off with being lazy, so I made an outlandish goal. One year from this week, I will race in the Keys 100. In doing so, I'll be posting all my lessons-learned (and relearned) here. I made my training schedule today, and it seems challenging but reasonable at the same time. A few weeks stray into 70 miles, and I have a 50 mile training race a month or so before to begin my taper off of. This November (after the wedding in October :) ) I'll be doing the Pensacola Marathon while my wife will be doing her first official half marathon! These truly are exciting times.

Training starts tomorrow with three days of easy short distance runs, with two more this weekend. Mondays and Fridays will be permanent rest days. I'll be sure to update this later on with how these go.

Passion had fueled my progress, and I hungered for more ~ Dean Karnazes

Friday, May 1, 2009

Country Music Marathon Race Report

I was TDY again, so here's my Country Music Marathon race report, a week late...

I took last friday off from work and drove up to Nashville. I made it around 3:30 pm and went straight to the expo. The expo was nice, a bit busy, but I quickly got my race number and goodie bag and went to find my hotel. I found the hotel by around 5, checked in, and walked down to Applebee's for some pre-race pasta. After that, I settled in, got ready for the race, laid out everything I needed, and watched some hockey. I got in touch with Leo and planned to meet up with him, Wes, and Bryan before the race.

I woke up at 4:30, ate a bagel, put on my race attire, and drove over to LP Field to catch a bus to the start. I made the buses by about 15 minutes before they stopped running, so I kinda cut it close. I made it over to the start in Centennial park, found Leo and company, and found our place at the start. Soon enough, we were on our way.

Looking at the weather report that morning, I knew it was gonna be a little warm, but I didn't know that it was gonna be an underestimate. The temperature quickly rose as the miles accumulated. Around 6 miles in, I knew this was going to be a huge effort. I started to slow down and some early hills took their toll. My knee was starting to hurt again, not too badly at first, but by the time the half-marathon split came along (Wes and Bryan were only doing the half), I needed to walk a bit. Leo walked with me up the hill at the 12 mile point, where he said his knee was having the exact same problem.

We came to the conclusion (whether this is true or not is to be decided, but it assigns blame, so I'm going with it) that our knee issues were due to the ING Georgia Marathon. Most of the race was run on the right side of the road, and all the roads were crowned (they slant down to the sides so that rain water doesn't accumulate in the middle). That caused one leg to take a shorter stride than the other, so we went with that blame, since it was in the same knee.

As we walked more and ran less, our knees hurt more and the temperature rose. After the race ended, the temperature read 91 degrees with 80-90% humidity (read: suck) I was horribly dehydrated, so much that at one point my nose bled quite a bit. I got it under control and started taking about 3 cups water, 1 cup cytomax at the aid stations. I was still bad at the end of the race, but I felt better towards mile 20 or so.

The bands on the course were actually quite entertaining. For not being a country fan, I enjoyed having them to look forward to. Walking most of the second half of the race meant it went longer in between bands, but I enjoyed listening to them perform as we walked past.

Leo and I eventually finished in 5:45 (a new personal worst for both of us) and I think 15 minutes before the cut-off. Only about half of the 7500 marathon runners finished, so I'll take the bad performance as a boost, but not much of one. It was too hot, and its only going to feel hotter in the Keys. I'm gonna get one of those Badwater hats and some ice-bandanas to help me keep cool during the race. Gutting it out in Nashville through the heat proved to me that I can play the mental part of the game. I wanted to quit a few times but I kept walking, knowing that a finish was within reach and that it was good training for the Keys. Hopefully I'll run a smart race and get plenty of awesome support from my wonderful crew (Emily) :)

As for my marathon buddies, our next planned trip will be the Disney race weekend in January of 2010, Leo and I are doing the Goofy's Challenge, but we'll see what comes up in between now and then.

And so the adventure continues...

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Few Minutes of Torture

So I was reading about IT Band Syndrome, and many of the articles pointed to this little piece of medieval torture equipment...

Wow does this thing hurt, but its a good hurt! Just put it under my leg while laying down on my side, and roll back and forth. It's foam, so it'll feel good, right?

NO! It hurts like hell. Yeah, it feels better when you get up and move around for a few seconds, but the few seconds that you're actually using it... pain. I tried it on my back too, and realized that I'm just one big ball of muscle knots! The next few weeks are gonna be painful with this thing, but hopefully I'll be better off than I was without it.

My knee feels pretty good right now, so for the moment I'm still going to go to PT tomorrow. I told everyone at work not to expect me, but I'm feeling a bit better and its only 1.5 miles, so I can walk out if I get too bad. I gotta see where I stand though, with a 12 miler on Wednesday, 8 on Thursday, and 24 on Friday so I can have a restful weekend. Still don't know what I'm gonna do about the 10 miler on Sunday, either get up early and do it or break it up over a day or three. Who knows. Lets just get past Wednesday before I make those plans...