April 28, 2013

Nashville Rock N Roll Weekend Recap and Race Report

Did you know if you rearrange the letters in the word NASHVILLE you can spell HILLS A NEV - I'm pretty sure that's Greek for Hills that never end!  But we'll get to that!  First a little background...

The Country Music Marathon is the first Rock N Roll race that I've done since Vegas last December, and only my second RnR ever!  Better yet, this was the first sponsored race that I entered as a member of TeamREFUEL after earning my spot from the video I made at the Vegas Race.  This icing on the cake of course was winning the #RnRSlimDown contest from the competitor group.  (click any of the links if you're new to my blog)

Because of the obligation to be at the expo by 11:00 a.m. on Friday, I picked Pete up at 5:30 a.m. and we were rolling making decent time, but we were able to dial back the pace when we realized that Nashville was actually on Central Time!  Oops, but it all worked out as we were able to take our time and relax on the way down.

Once we arrived in Nashville we got parked and made our way to the expo at the convention center.  Got my bib, shirt, swag bag, and made my way to the REFUEL booth.  There I met the team rep who hooked me up with my VIP pass for the weekend.  I didn't have long to chat as it was 10:45, so I made my way to the stage area to find my contact but found no one.  Finally found the moderator, John Bingham, for the featured session, and he had NO IDEA who I was or what I was supposed to be doing!  Oh great!  Thankfully, my contact did show up and hooked me up with the 2 VIP passes (yes Pete got one and one went to waste), and said that the UP band was not there they would have to mail it to me.  She said Danni was on her way and explained the contest to the moderator.

Within minutes, Danni arrived, and I was introduced.  Immediately got this first picture with her which was posted to Facebook by the race saying "True inspiration- #RnRslimdown winner Chris Day and Danni Allen - Biggest Loser 14 at the health & fitness expo! Proof that you can achieve anything you put your mind to!"  AWESOME!  Then they quickly rushed her off to get ready for the session telling me there would be time for me to speak with her later.  Once she was on stage with John, the crowd grew ten times over!  The interview was fascinating.  She answered questions and spoke very openly about the experience.  Everything from the second she found out she was on the show and on the bus with the other contestants on the way to the ranch to the finale and beyond.  While the behind the scene details of the show were very insightful, I was really more interested in her current goals, thoughts, plans, fears, struggles, challenges, successes, and life in general, as this is where I am today.  Here are the key takeaways I got out of it.  1) Have a plan.  This is her first half marathon, all part of a bigger goal to run her first full marathon in her hometown of Chicago this October!  2) Log your food.  She says this is still the key as she is somewhat OCD about journaling, but insists that it is critical to know what you ate, when you ate it, and what you did the day before you gained a pound or two on the scales.  Study it, and learn from it.  3) Surround yourself with the right people.  Your support network has to be strong, and you have to walk away from every hint of negativity in your life.  Believe in yourself and know that you are the only you in this world, so be the best you you can be!  (I hung on every word).

Finally the moment came when John announced the SlimDown contest winner - ME!  I got a nice round of applause as he brought me on stage, and the first question from John "So tell us how much you slimmed down", to which I smiled, paused, and then spoke confidently - 107 pounds!  Wow, I got an even bigger round of applause!  I looked at Danni and said, "Not as good as Danni's 121, but I'm not done yet"  

With that John was pretty well done with me, but he did allow me to sit down on stage next to Danni as he went into the crowd to take questions from the masses.  The first question was from a Yoga instructor who wanted to ask her about Yoga and her thoughts.  Ultimately it turned into a conversation on cross training.  When Danni finished answering the question, she turned to me and was nice enough to ask if I had anything to add.  I took the chance to mention swimming, and in the same breath turned the question back to her.  Something that had been on my mind, so I asked her.  "You were such a strong swimmer in the challenges on the show, have you ever thought about getting into triathlons?  Afterall, Tara raced an Ironman in Kona after her season."  She smiled and said that she actually did her first Sprint Tri while she was at the Biggest Loser resort and really enjoys the spin bike, so it was not out of the question.  She said she had already talked to Tara about it!  I believe that was the end of my involvement.  I didn't expect anyone in the audience to ask me a question, and I didn't think it was my place to say anything else unless I was asked, so I just sat there and smiled for the duration.

When it was all done, she stood up and hugged me, and I kid you not was swept away quickly by her handler to get to the St. Jude booth for a meet and greet.  I didn't feel like I had gotten any one on one time with her like I had anticipated, so I followed the crowd.  Upon arriving, a line quickly formed of people wanting to meet her and get their pic taken with her.  I positioned myself right beside her, dropped my bags and with my body language basically was saying, I'm not going anywhere!  I helped speed the line up by offering to take pictures for fans as they took their turns with her.  She could not have been any more pleasant.  Always smiling, and taking the time to ask every single person their name and where they were from.  Always hugging instead of shaking hands, and showing a genuine concern and love for every person she spoke with.  At one point even commenting that her cheeks always hurt from smiling so much, but she figures she has strong cheek muscles and is burning calories with every smile! 
As I sensed the line coming to an end, and her next obligation coming, I called Molly via Facetime, and gave her the chance to do something very few will ever do - Facetime with Danni Allen!  Molly was smiling the whole time, and I'm not sure they could really understand each other, but in true Danni fashion, she smiled the whole time telling her how sorry she was that she couldn't be there.  Molly actually thought quick enough to screen shot the moment.  Once that was done, I grabbed her and said I need one more favor!  My oldest daughter was equally disappointed that she couldn't come and made this card for me to bring to you and ask for an autograph.  Without hesitating, she asked what her name was and wrote the following, "Hey Morgan, thanks for all the support.  Hope to see you soon. XO Danni Allen BL14" How sweet is that?  

She granted me one last picture (my favorite by far) And as quickly as it began, it was over!

With that highlight done, it was time to thank my sponsor!  Made my way over to the REFUEL booth, and finally got to meet my teammate Jesus from California.  Jesus is running all but 3 RnR races in the country this year.  This is already like number 7, and he's not just half crazy - he does fulls...and he's pretty fast too!  Was great to finally meet him after chatting online for many months.  Also got a chance to get some "official" photos around the booth with the rep for their use.  Didn't hang out too long, but couldn't say thank you enough to the group!

 Pete and I took our time trolling the expo, and enjoying some free samples, but it was well past noon, and we were in need of some food!  We hit "The District" and found bar after bar after bar, every one of them with live music!  A very cool area where we ultimately ended up in an upstairs open air covered patio overlooking the busy street below!  Had an awesome lunch and then it was time to find the hotel.

 We headed toward the Hotel Preston which is near the airport, got checked in and decided it was okay to just REST!  Kicked back and got caught up with facebook and twitter news, and I smiled to see that both Rock n Roll marathons and Danni Allen are now following me on twitter.  Called around to check on reservations for a few places, but ultimately decided that we could grab some pizza and pasta at nearby Vanderbilt University and save money from the downtown Nashville experience.  Turns out, good choice!  Enjoyed some great carbs, and then drove aimlessly around Vanderbilt and up and down Nashville's Music Row!  What a cool city!  With that it was back to the hotel where we both fell asleep watching the NFL Draft!
Alarm set for 4:50 a.m., and guess who is awake at 4:40 to hop in the shower first!  Check the weather and forecast to confirm what we should wear, and sure enough, as predicted.  100% chance of heavy rain all morning with a chance for a rumble of thunder.  Temps were about 52 degrees so I went long sleeve tech under my new refuel shirt.  Shorts with my new orange calf sleeves and possibly the most important thing - a cap!  A cap to keep the rain out of your face and eyes is critical.

We loaded the shuttle at 5:30 sharp, and struck up some casual conversation with those around us.  Many were asking who was running their first.  Half or full?  Where else have you ran?  Where are you from?  Can you believe this rain?  etc.  Pete actually saw someone wearing a race shirt from a small race he had done in Michigan last year.  The girl looked at him like "Yeah, right", but he talked the talk, and turns out they are both running the same marathon next month too!  One of the girls saw our bracelets and asked how we got VIP bracelets.  Pete deferred to me as the provider and I paused for a second about how to answer.  I could say I won a contest through the race or I am a member of team REFUEL.  Instead, I said confidently "I'm a sponsored athlete"  (That was fun to say).  Of course it brought on the same confused look that Pete and I got when we told them we both ran a full marathon last week.  I'm guessing they got off the bus calling us a couple of fat liars!

Once we arrived to the village area and unloaded into the rain, it was not raining that hard.  Pete and I made the long walk to the VIP area which was actually a Chili's.  It was packed with race officials, race staff, official pacers, sponsored athletes, elite athletes, etc.  It was a clean dry place just for us with a spread of bananas, bagels, water, juice, and tea and many other goodies, not to mention a clean bathroom.  I spotted Jesus there early and introduced myself to a few others.  By 6:30 Danni arrived, and I greeted her with a hug and wished her good luck.  I leaned in and asked if she had a goal time and she said she'd like to be under 2 hours.  I laughed and told her I saw her 8k time from the Shamrock (sub 40) so she should crush this.  She said yeah, but that was only 5 miles.  I knew she had it.  Her coach Christopher Lane was there (who I found out later via a twitter conversation was from Muncie and graduated from Yorktown - boy did I miss an opportunity there) and the same handler was moving her quickly from obligation to obligation.  She had a couple quick photos and then was gone.

Shortly thereafter my REFUEL rep Lindsey showed up and introduced me to Fireman Rob.  I had read about Rob and his charity efforts before, but didn't make the connection that he was an honorary REFUEL member.  Rob was made famous for completing multiple Ironman races by doing the run in full turnout gear!  He even got to race in the world championships in Kona last year, and finished with 20 minutes to spare!  He asked about my journey and I told him I was doing Ironman Louisville this August, and he said "See you there!"  Outstanding.  His beautiful wife Nicole joined him today to race alongside him for the first time.  Spoiler alert - he finished in 2:42:51!  That's a 12:26 pace in full gear!  I was honored to get my picture taken with the two of them alongside team member Chris Self who is a challenged athlete and runs for CAF with a blade leg - ready for this - he ran a 1:57:33 today - on a blade leg!  Talk about being surrounded by inspiration!

Pete and I headed to our starting corral.  I was supposed to be in 10 and he in 13, so instead we jumped in 9 with the 2 hour pace group.  (Start sooner,
finish sooner).  We packed in tight and got our self pic with our 20000 closest friends in the background before the ceremonies began. At this point Danni just happens to jump into our corral with her coach Christopher and they line up with the 2 hour pace group, so of course I had to yell to her again "Good luck Danni", and as she smiles waves back and says you too, I'm pretty sure in her mind she was thinking "Stalker!".  In my defense I was here first, but yeah, I had my eye on her.  There was a moment of silence for Boston and they had everyone raise the peace sign with the hand that they had their Boston bracelet on.  The only sound was the blades of the helicopter above.  Very cool!  There was a prayer, and the national anthem with EVERYONE joining in by the end!  Chills!

The race was on and Pete and I both seemed to feel good.  I watched Danni stride away with ease, and thought about trying to bust it out today, but I had no intentions of PR today.  The course begins on a slight uphill, but quickly turns down, and down, and down again thus mile 1 at 9:29 was no surprise, but mile 2 at 9:01 had me loving gravity and long legs!  But as we turned the corner block and started heading back in the opposite direction it was up, and up, and up.  Tough pill to swallow going from a 9:01 to a mile 3 pace of 10:18.  My 5k split was officially 30:22, so right around 9:50 was fine for me today.

The pain behind my left knee is on the top part of my calf, and is the very spot that gave me problems at the end of Carmel.  During my massage this week, she worked on this spot, and I have had no pain there all week.  But the combination of the downhill pounding on the knees coupled with my struggled ability to climb hills really put the hurt on me early.  Mile 4 was 10:34 and Mile 5 was 10:25, but caught a little downhill on Mile 6 for 10:03.  My 10k split was officially 1:02:25 and that had me just over a 10:00 pace now.

Jesus caught up to me at this point, running with his GoPro camera, I'm hoping he got some good video, and he pulled me for a bit, but not enough to catch up to Pete who was now starting to pull away from me as we pounded out repeat hills through miles 7 and 8.  Jesus left me, and I lost Pete in the crowd.  Mile 7 fell off to 10:41 but Mile 8 was an embarrassing 11:33.  People were moving by me like I was sitting still, but I maintained my jogging motion as I shortened up my stride to pound through these hills.  Pete and I had studied the elevation and I remember we had decided that getting to mile 8 was the goal, and then the downhills would be more than the ups, so I just tried to stay in motion.

The course left Vanderbilt University and headed down Music Row back toward the downtown.  The trees in Nashville are full of leaves and provided some cover from rain if you could stay to the side, and when I hit a downhill I tried to stride out a little more.  Mile 9 was 10:57 and Mile 10 was 11:09.  This was all I could muster as the pain was starting to creep up the hamstring and into the lower back.  Mile 11 clicked off at 11:23, and despite having decided that jogging every step today would be a victory in and of itself, I finally took my first walking step at the water aid station at mile 11.3 as the full marathoners split off from us to their long course.

The rain is absolutely pounding at this point.  The water is rushing through the streets like fast moving streams.  There is some uphill work to be done in the last couple miles as you enter the elevated downtown, and there is no such thing as a puddle because the water is rushing under your feet coming down the hill at you the whole time.  I walk/jog as I have to but mile 12 is a predictable disappointment at 12:44, and as much as I wanted to run more in the last mile, I could not for a mile 13 of  12:35.

Thankfully as you reach the peak of the hill, the bridge down to LP field (home of the Titans) and the finish line is a beautiful downhill and I'm able to stride out during the last 0.22 (always measures long) and Garmin has my pace at a 8:57 for that last kick for a final official time of 2:21:59.  Not one for the record books, but a battle of wills in these conditions that I hope I never have to race in again coupled with these hills that we just don't have in Yorktown!  Overall: 9344 out of 17829  Division: 704 out of 981  Gender:  4322 out of 6506 - And in case you were still wondering, yes, Danni crushed that 2 hour goal with a 1:53:37 - yeah, that's almost 5 minutes better than my PR - not bad for her first half!  #losersrock

Pete was nice enough to wait for me at the finish line.  He ran a great race at 2:08:35.  The rain and hills got to him, but he seemed to have no pain, and is well on his way to his 4th marathon next month.  I limped through the recovery area for my water, gatorade, banana, and of course my chocolate milk!  Lindsey was there to greet me, and we snapped a few photos.  Got Chocolate Milk actually tweeted out this photo saying  A rainy didn't stop 's & others from a post-race LF choco milk.

Once that was done, there was no question - let's get out of here.  This is how much pain we were in!  We had VIP passes which include a full spread of catered hot food, drinks, and bathrooms in an enclosed covered tent.  Didn't matter - we headed straight for the shuttles and back to the hotel.  The additional factor was that it was now 10:00 and checkout at the hotel was to be 11.

As we sat on the bus, I could feel my back starting to lock up, and continued to squirm to find a comfortable position.  And as we got off the shuttle I hobbled to stand upright.  But once we got to the room and I could peel off the wet layers, and get a hot shower, I was able to stretch it out more efficiently and relieve the pain.  The pain behind my knee, well it is still there 24 hours later!  We loaded the car and drove in the rain most of the way home.  Cracker Barrel was our lunch recovery choice, and when we reached Indy it was Five Guys time for dinner.  I was home before 7 and in bed before 10!

A memorable weekend for sure.  No regrets.  I said all along it was to be a fun weekend that would be a victory lap of sorts to cap off the Spring running season.  I should take a week off from racing, and refocus on the bike and swim as the first triathlon of the year is in less than two weeks and I have yet to ride the bike outside!  I have renewed focus for taking care of myself.  Not only getting my legs back to 100% but also focusing in on my diet and what's going into my mouth.  I've still got a few winter pounds to shed to get myself back to peak performance.

Thanks to my sponsor Got Chocolate Milk and Team REFUEL.  Thanks to the competitor group, Rock n Roll Marathon Series and Danni Allen.  Thanks to my supportive wife and family who allow me to take off for a couple days to experience these opportunities.

Here is a link to additional photos and videos of the race from the local newspaper

April 25, 2013

#RnRslimdown WINNER

Tuesday evening I come across a post that the Country Music Marathon #CMM is running a contest called #RnRslimdown - All you have to do is tweet an instagram pic of your #before and #after.  By now you've all seen the signature before pic of me in the 3XL blue shirt from 2007, but in order to send one pic I needed to upload a file that had my after attached to it.  So I came across a facebook cover photo I had spliced together after my 2011 race season - not even at my lowest weight!

I cropped out the right side, and tweeted the left side as an instagram pic:

Congratulations, you are our #RnRSlimdown Winner!

April 24, 2013

HEY Y'ALL WATCH THIS...(for the 14th time)

Sorry for the unusual title, but I'm working on my Southern Country Draw!  Why you ask...
Because it's time for the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville!
This will be my 14th Half Marathon!
Yes, I know, I just ran a full marathon 4 days ago, and that's why I'm only doing the half!
Yes, this is the 4th straight weekend I have raced, and that's why I'm only doing the half!
Yes, My leg muscles are exhausted beyond belief, and that's why I'm only doing the half!
Do you sense me trying to justify sticking to the half as opposed to upgrading to the full?
Won't happen!  I'm sticking with the half!
Pete and I are rolling out early Friday morning to enjoy the expo, carb load and get a good night's sleep!
We will race hard Saturday morning, refuel and then head home Saturday afternoon!
It's a quick trip!  It's a guys weekend!  And it's in large part thanks to my Team REFUEL sponsorship from Got Chocolate Milk! 

April 20, 2013

Carmel Marathon Race Report

If you've been following me all week, thanks and here is the conclusion of the story.
If you're not interested in reading the whole thing here is what you need to know...I talked a good fight all week, but today wasn't my day.  Still curious?  Read on...
Alarm set for 5 a.m., which means I'm rolling out of bed at 4:50 because you know, I've been awake since 4:30 watching the clock tick minute by minute.  Showered, dressed, granola bar, chocolate milk, granola bar, gatorade, watch, heart rate monitor, gear bag, and go.  Ted picks me up at 5:30, we grab Matt and meet Team Olson to caravan down.  Great company all the way down.  I'm still waking up slowly, but feeling good.  Parked in the garage nearby, potty break, and final prep.
Pre-race YRC photo
High fives all around, good luck wishes, and we settle in with Heather, the 4:25 pace group leader.  I introduce myself, and tell her I'd like to spend the next 4 and a half hours with her if she's not too busy.  Meet a few other hopefuls nearby and it's go time.
Out of the gate, feeling good, chatting up a storm, no worries, and flexing on and off the pace leader.  Walter Evans had lined up in front of us, and we wished him well on our way by.  Mile 1 is perfect in my book at 9:55 - man if I could do that all day!  5 minutes later the gentleman beside me says "Chris?" and I say yeah, without recognizing him at first, then doing a double take - JAYSON SLABACH!  I knew he was running this, but had honestly forgotten and wasn't even looking for him.  I know from his posts that he runs 10 minute pace all day, so hoping he's in it for the long haul with us.  In my excitement I yell at the top of my lungs, "Hey Everybody, I just found my friend I haven't seen in 15 years" which was met with a smattering of applause, woo-hoo's, and some laughter!  We exchanged pleasantries, introduced him to Olson's and carried on.
Mile 2 takes us near Molly's Aunt Norma's home.  Off the main drag and going through neighborhoods was pretty common today, but again out of nowhere I hear a voice - "YRC spotted up ahead" - I wave my hands in acknowledgment trying to figure out who it is that could possibly be behind me and recognizing the YRC shirt - then he goes on "That Chris Day up there used to weigh 310 pounds, and look at him now!"  Seriously, I had to run backwards and look all around before finally spotting - Mike Shunneson!  He laughed and said he was late getting here, so was making up some ground.  Ran with us for a half mile, and let him run away from us.  Mile 2 is 9:44 and we're caught up in the fun with friends, and leaving the pace group behind.
At some point during mile 3 or 4 the half marathoners turn off and the crowd thins out substantially!  Pete and Jayson as well as Amy are flexing ahead of me until Amy has to stop and retie her shoe and now she and I are running together again.  Both still feeling good.  I show mile 3 at 10:07 and mile 4 at 9:50.
Miles 5 and 6 get us into some of the course change area. Due to the flooding on Thursday night a number of homes were underwater, and it was quite sad to witness much of this first hand.  Vehicles submerged, backyard furniture floating, and the river moving quickly.  Mile 5 was 10:04 and Mile 6 was 10:01 - My split at the 10k was officially 1:01:54 which is just 6 seconds under a 10 minute pace.  This was the first time that I noticed the course starting to measure a little long against my Garmin.
After we crossed the 10k mat, and I could still see Pete and Jayson, I decided to try and make a move to see if I could catch up to them.   I ran mile 7 in 9:41 and mile 8 in 9:46.  I felt like I was gaining, but I was working way too hard doing it, so I decided to settle back into my rhythm.  I left Amy behind a bit in doing this, and that pace group...well they were no where to be seen now.
Miles 9, 10, 11 and 12 were cruise control miles for me.  It was mostly through neighborhoods, and I still felt good settling into a rhythm of 9:56, 10:12, 10:11, and 10:09.  If I could do this all day, I wouldn't mind having Pete and Jayson finish ahead of me as I would meet one of my biggest goals of the day!  The course was measuring as much as .15 long for me at this point.  Looking back, still no sign of Amy or the pace group.  But that was all about to change.
During mile 13 I did take some of my first walking steps through a water stop, and ultimately began to feel the pain in my back resume.  As I finished that mile and saw it click off at 11:46, I could really feel the day start slipping away from me.  My official Half Marathon time was 2:14:07 - over 3 minutes slower than a 10 minute pace - time to focus.
As the 4:25 pace group blew by me and into the distance, I repeated the same effort on mile 14 around 11:49, but the pain was growing deeper down the back and into the glutes now, and I knew it was only a matter of time before Amy would catch up.
Mile 15 brought exactly what I had hoped for - MY FAMILY!  I could see them in the distance ahead right at the 15 mile marker - smiling, waving, beating on cowbells, and I already knew what I was going to say.  I took the time to go to all of them with hugs and kisses.  I looked Molly in the eyes, and said, "I just need you to be proud of me" - She kissed me and said, "I'm proud of you, now keep going!"  As I turned to wave goodbye - there was Amy!  Right on my heels!  I ran to the bottom of the hill, and ultimately with my face in my hands shed my first tear of the day.  The pain was too much, and I knew an 11 mile walk was not going to be enjoyable.  She shared that she was dealing with some of the worst pain she'd had in a while too, but with an encouraging "Let's go", she pulled me with her to the next hill, and as I've come to accept - I can NOT climb hills.  It is the way I shorten my stride and lean into the hill that ultimately prevents my back from having the strength to go on.  I watched her run ahead of me, and immediately adopted a disciplined run walk strategy that would have to get me through the rest of the day.  Mile 15 was 12:26 and mile 16 was 12:12.  Mile 17 was much of the same.  Running 3 cones, walking 2 cones, then running 0.1 miles, and walking 0.1 miles, I kept changing it up based on how I felt, and it kept me steady around 12:33.
And then for some unknown reason, God put a hill in front of me that for the first time all day I actually debated quitting.  I had tears in my eyes, and struggled to even powerwalk up the hill.  When the watch finally clicked off at 13:22, it was everything I could do to keep going.  If I could only manage that coming in, I would not PR, and I debated if it was worth risking further injury.  The 4:40 pace group blew by going up the hill, and I had nothing to go with them.  By this time the pain is deep beyond my glutes and into my hamstrings.  I was obviously chaffing under my armpits also as a result of the increased arms with the powerwalking and the rubbing that caused with my base layer.
Obviously, I ventured on and was overcome by another slow mile 19 at 13:03.  I began to try and increase the running distances, but the problem was getting started.  By now the pain is actually into my calves, and coming out of a walking stride with a little "giddy-up" to kick start the run would send a shooting pain all the way from my ankle up into my calf that would force me take two little tip-toe steps and try not to fall.  After much experimentation, I figured out how to get in motion, and then it was just a matter of rolling the foot enough to stretch the calf to prevent the cramp and shooting pains.
Mile 20 was brutal but I got it down to 12:21, and that was as good as it was going to get.  I think the clock was around 3:40 because I started doing the math.  I know that with a 10k to go a 10 minute mile would take 1:02 - but of course I'm not running a 10 minute mile.  I figure an 11 minute mile would add about 6-7 minutes to that and a 12 minute mile would add about 12-14 minutes  If that's the case a 12 minute mile will take 1:16 and I will finish at 4:56!  But again...I'm not moving at a 12 minute mile - In fact as the 4:55 pace group blows by before mile 21 I realize that with 5 miles to go I need to only lose a minute per mile to them and knowing that a 5 hour marathon is 11:35 pace, I will need to do 12:35s to have a chance.  Did you follow all that?  Believe it or not, I did the math on the move!  Mile 21 was 12:48 and I feel like I'm at the end of my legs.
As I enter the Monon Center park, I am SHOCKED to see Matt walking out of the park.  I'm not sure how long we're in the park and therefore not sure how far ahead of me he is, but he is walking slowly and is in obvious pain.  In some ways, it's redeeming to know that the Beast (That's what my friend Ann calls the marathon) can bite anyone at anytime!  I keep trying to find a rhythm and running the downhills, when my eyes spy Pete walking near the exit to the park and not far behind Matt, and there is Jayson less than 30 seconds behind him.  Looking in the other direction I see Amy and realize she is a good 4-5 minutes ahead of me.  Mile 22 was 12:44.  All I can do at this point is repeat the math and give all my body will allow.  We exit the park at Mile 23 which was a 12:37.
No clue where I am, I'm looking to the skyline to locate the Palladium to get my bearings, but no sign of it.  As I come up on mile 24 - THERE'S MY FAMILY!  Of course I try to jog to them, but never able to go more than 30 seconds, all I can do is smile, and shrug.  Molly confirms that it's my back; amongst other things that are the culprit.  But my shocking surprise she points and says, "See that red shirt? - That's Chuck!"  What?  He's not that far ahead of me - "He's hurting?"  "Yes - BAD!".  Wow!  The BEAST bites again!  mile 24 was 12:38, and I can do the math to know that I've got to pick it up to have a chance at 5 hours, but that's not going to happen.
I continue with my run walk strategy and I'm slowly catching him.  Then it occurs to me - Hey, wait a minute, I bet this is a trick!  Chuck probably finished an hour ago, then walked back to mile 24 and schemed with Molly to walk ahead of me and try to pull me in a little faster!  You sly dog!  But alas, No, that was not the case at all.  And as I got closer and could make out his limp I knew his legs were toast.  I reached him near the top of a hill, and of course I have to run the downhills. I say "Come on" as I run up on him, and he replies "I'm sorry bud, I want to, but I physically can not run".  Wow, he was hurting!  I walk again and jump into my next run and hear him say "Keep it up, you're going to PR!"  I did all I could but at this point mile 25 is no better than any other at 12:48.
Now here is where the issues of frustration take over.  My watch clicks off mile 25, but I'm a good quarter mile or more away from the mile marker.  By the time I reach the mile marker and do the math, I realize a 5 hour marathon is no longer possible.  My watch clicks off mile 26 at a steady 12:47.  I'm still doing all I can, but again, no where close to the finish!  As my watch hits 26.2 I was sure to burn the number into my mind.  I will call this my GARMIN PR of 4:58:11 - and sadly yet, I could see the finish line in the distance at that moment! 
Sadly, the course measured 26.5.  As I made the final turn, I could hear my family cheering for me before I saw them.  I could not run even one step at this point.  In fact my pace over that last half mile was the worst of the day at 13:41.  It was all uphill to the final turn, and the legs were gone.  The announcer spoke my name and the kids ran out and held my hands.  They crossed the finish line with me, and there may be a picture or two with a tear in my eye.  Must have been the wind!?  ;)

Final official time is 5:02:20 - and yes that is a PR by 2 minutes and 34 seconds.
Nice Bling!

Hugs, kisses and congratulations all around.  The finisher medal is placed around my neck.  And someone hands me a chocolate milk right on cue!  Snapped a few pics to commemorate the occasion, and turned to find Jayson and his wife right beside me.  Turns out his wheels fell off on the back half too and he finished less than two minutes ahead of me.
Now looking for Chuck, and watched him also limp across the finish and literally performed a controlled collapse into the metal fencing.  A friendly medic who was worried about me wobbling was redirected to Chuck, and within seconds they were calling for medical for him.  He shrugged them off, but took a precautionary trip to the med tent (welcome to the club).  I thought to ask Molly how Amy did and she confirmed that she was beaming as she crossed in 4:57:04.  I got a little choked up thinking how proud I was of her, and maybe a little disappointed in myself.  Found Pete and gave him a big hug of congrats as he tells me he knocked it out in 4:47:02.  Was so excited to hear his war stories.  We walked up a little farther, and found Amy sitting on a curb recovering.  We traded smiles, and I leaned all the way down and said, "I knew there would be a day you would beat me, I just didn't know it was going to be today!"  Could not be happier for both of them!
The rest of the story is all about recovery.  We ate well at Famous Dave's on the way home, and Puerto Vallarta (with margarita) for dinner tonight.

 My #1 fan continues to tell me how proud she is of me, and my kids have said it more than once also.  It was not the day I had planned on or hoped for.  No where close, but as I posted earlier in the week...
GOAL #1 - JUST FINISH - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!  My 4th full is in the books
GOAL #2 - PR - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!  It wasn't by much, but you gotta take what you can get!
GOALS #3-? - NOT TODAY - I could give you many excuses.  I have plenty.  Injury, lack of long runs, etc.  But at the end of the day it doesn't matter.  I learned a lot today, and I will be better for it.  Here is a comparison of all my marathons (I know I'm a data geek) I will be studying this and trying to learn from it.
Many thanks to all my friends that raced today and shared the experience with me in some way.  Thanks to Dr. Schoonover and Indiana Vein Specialists for the sponsored entry today.  But as always, I must finish this post with huge thanks to my amazing family who allow me to do these crazy activities, but especially my wife, who ALREADY gave me a full body massage!  I love you Molly!

April 19, 2013

Twas the night before Carmel...

Twas the night before Carmel, and all through the house
I was the only one stirring, getting looks from my spouse.
The calf sleeves were hung by my race tights with care,
In hopes that a PR soon would be there.

The children were obnoxious and wouldn't go to bed,
While visions of finish lines danced in my head
And Molly on her computer, and mine on my lap
Tried settling down to soon go to nap.

While out there in Boston there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Brian Williams now tells me the suspect is found,
He's hiding in a boat alive without a sound.

The wind has been strong here, and I even saw snow
It's 30 degrees out , it's Spring don't you know.
I'll need gloves and long sleeves and stuff for my ears,
Could use a big sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

I'll give it my all, to be lively and quick
Run like never before, until I get sick.
More rapid than eagles my legs not the same
I will push my body until it goes lame

Now Pete! now Amy! now Lisa and Chuck!
On Matt, On Teddy, on Kirk press your luck!
To the top of your threshold and give it your all!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

Sorry friends, that's about the extent of my creativity this evening!  These are the silly things I do to clear my mind before a race.

I've had a great day.  Ate extremely well.  Very low stress.  Back feels great.  Enjoyed the expo, and especially getting to spend some time with my sponsor, Dr. Jeff Schoonover at Indiana Vein Specialist!

Alarm is set for 5 a.m.  Being picked up and rolling by 5:45.  Race starts at 7:30, and unless you're tracking me via text messages, you won't hear from me again until tomorrow afternoon!

Thanks so much to everyone for your support of my journey as I take this next step.  But special thanks to my amazing family and especially my wife, my rock, and my biggest fan, Molly!  I love you!

Happy running to all, and to all a good night!

April 18, 2013

TWO DAYS left and a little off the top

For the third straight night I got 9 hours of sleep!  Woke up early and again debated going for a walk, but rolled over and enjoyed that 9th hour!  Got up, stretched it out and....NO PAIN!  All day long - not even a twinge of pain.  I can still feel the knots with my hands, but the spasms are gone.  This has given me the boost of confidence I needed to get my mind right!
Spent a good amount of time on the road today so went with the McDonalds Bacon Egg and Cheese Bagel for breakfast.  I love their bagels and they're obviously full of carbs.  I'm sure I got some protein out of it too.  For lunch I found a grilled chicken sandwich with fries.  The fries were more like potato wedges, and of course I put extra salt on all of it to help retain all the water.  I had 32 ounces of water this morning and a 32 ounce Gatorade this afternoon.  For dinner Molly made Italian Beef and parmesan potatoes, and I only had one sandwich and loaded up on the salt again.  Nothing but water after 7:00 for me, and plenty of it.  Very happy with my diet this week in getting the things I need!
When I got home from work, I found a break in the rain so took the dog for a brisk walk.  We only went about 15 minutes, but it was just enough to keep my legs moving without putting any stress on my back.  Early to bed again tonight as tomorrow night may be a little more difficult to unwind.  My wife has not been a fan of my choices this week.  At 9:15 when I ask if she's ready to go up, I get "the look", but she doesn't seem to mind getting all the extra sleep.
However, tonight I may have pushed my luck with my approval rating.  I've been thinking for a long time about cutting my hair - to the extreme.  There's something about changing something that gets me a a little bit fired up.  I have changed many things over the years internally, and the result on the external is somewhat obvious.  The comments are what keep me going.  Unfortunately, tonight's change didn't garner the comments I hoped for.  In fact, Molly's first words were "I want to cry" - not exactly the words of affirmation I was looking for (good thing that's not my love language) - That was shortly followed by "And you left the facial hair?  Are you trying to make yourself as far away from my preferences as possible?"  Ouch, why don't you just kick my dog while you're here!  Nonetheless - it completes my "gameface" and I LOVE IT.  You're entitled to your opinions too!  36 HOURS TIL GO TIME!

Mr. Nice Guy - OFF
Game Face - ON!

April 17, 2013

3 days left and the goals for bib #4163

Slept well last night after the relaxing massage, however, the back spasms continued today.  This morning, while sitting at my desk, I had the occassional spasm as I sat up leaning forward and back.  I got online to read up a little more on my symptoms.  This is not recommended, as by the end of the web search I was pretty sure I had 7 days left to live or was pregnant with aliens.  I should have known better when a massage therapist referred to my lumps as a back mouse.  Really?

However, most of the more reputable posts continue to refer to the use of a foam roller, and I had been advised to use a tennis ball against a wall previously.  I've read many of my running friends talk about using a foam roller, so today seemed like as good a day as any to try.  Picked one up on my lunch break and was rolling around on the office floor the rest of the afternoon.  Okay, it's really not that glamorous, in fact it's somewhat painful, but hopefully it will work.

When I got home from work, I ventured out for a walk/jog/walk - 0.7 at a 15 minute pace, 1 mile run at 9:30 and an equal walk home.  The pain in the back was prevalent but tolerable.  I think it will loosen up a couple miles in and as long as I can stay in motion, should be fine, but of course I worry about the minute that I actually stop.  Maybe I should just walk home afterwards too?  Either way, I will be doing nothing the rest of the weekend!

My diet consisted of 800mg ibuprofen twice daily and a 24 hour Claritin-D...with a chocolate milk chaser.
Seriously though, only a granola bar for breakfast again, and ventured out for the Pizza Hut lunch buffet at noon.  Not my best choice - met the goal of carbs with the pasta and breadsticks, but the couple pieces of pizza I had were just greasy and in general not even good tasting.  Molly made a taco salad for dinner, but I didn't eat much of it.  Chugged a 32 ounce Gatorade on top of water all day, so should still be well hydrated.

As for the race, here is the link to track my progress
I hope you'll consider tracking me.  It's motivating to know that others are monitoring my progress.

This seems like as good a time as any to discuss my goals.  It goes without saying that the first goal is to finish.  Given the back issues, getting to the finish line is always goal #1.  However, being my 4th marathon, goal #2 is to PR.  My previous PR is 5:04:54 from Nov 2010.  I fully expect to meet goal #2 as I am much faster than that average pace today.  The question is how deep into the race can I sustain that pace.  That pace is goal #3 which is the 10:30 average pace - this would get me to a finish time of 4:35!  A 30 minute PR would be an emotional accomplishment for me!  What's that you ask?  My dream goal - well of course 3:10 would qualify me for Boston, but since that is a 7:15 pace, and I can barely run 1 mile at that pace, I'll wake up from that dream and say my realistic dream goal would be 4:22 - yes a sub 10 pace would be a dream come true.  So in true dreamer fashion, I plan to hook up with the 4:25 pace group and stick with them for the first half of the race.  If they're on pace, I would expect a 2:10 first half, and pray I can hang on for a 2:15 back half.  If I begin to fade more than they do, then I will be crunching the numbers mile by mile to get in by 4:35!

These are my goals and they are what drive me.  Think about it - when was the last time you set out to do a task for four and half hours NONSTOP!  I'm not talking about sitting and watching TV for that long, I'm talking about doing something that you must be actively engaged in and focused for that length of time.  The mental component is as important as the physical.  It will hurt - I know - it always does.  But I'm mentally ready to take my body to a place it has rarely, if ever, gone before to try and reach these goals.
Finally, I need to be sure to continue to thank Indiana Vein Specialists.  When Dr. Schoonover and his wife heard of my desire to run a full marathon in 2013, they contacted me proactively and offered to sponsor my entry into the Carmel Marathon.  I can't thank them enough for the opportunity!  Jeff and Kari are the best!

April 16, 2013

4 days left, a massage and the long awaited playlist

After a solid 9 hours of sleep, I woke up with continued pain this morning in the lower back.  It radiated throughout my back most of the morning but by mid afternoon had loosened up a bit as long as I remained relatively still.  Tonight I had my first "real" massage.  No clue what to expect going into it, and while it felt really good, I am more anxious to find out how I feel tomorrow.  She suggested drinking lots of water tonight which is part of the plan all week!

My diet was anything but sexy today.  Just one donut this morning at a meeting with a diet mt dew (I know, I know), and another group meeting for lunch had me at Thai Smile with the 3 flavored chicken, but I did opt for the steamed chicken.  I controlled my portions by bringing half of it home and having it again for dinner.  Good carbs from the rice and plenty of protein in the chicken not to mention the vegetables.  Downed a 32 ounce Gatorade this afternoon and sipped on water all evening after dinner.  A chocolate chip cookie or two may have fallen into my mouth this evening too.  Oh darn!

Now for the long anticipated reveal of my playlist - okay, not really, it is well known that I'm a current music junkie, but pride myself on my diverse musical taste.  Many of the songs are on here because their tempo matches my cadence.  But there are plenty that are on here because of the message.  Each one is special to me - music moves me!!  70 songs = 4.6 hours of music!  Here it is in alphabetical order, though I will have it on shuffle!  If you don't know it, you should google it and check it out!  I need to refill my water bottle...

According to You - Orianthi
All The Small Things - Blink 182
Beautiful Day - U2
Beauty and a Beat - Bieber
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) - P!nk
Carry On - Fun
Catch My Breath - Kelly Clarkson
Check Yes Juliet - We The Kings
Clocks - Coldplay
Closer to the Edge - 30 Seconds to Mars
Club Can't Handle Me - Flo-Rida w/ Guetta
Cruise - Florida Georgia Line w/Nelly
Daylight - Maroon 5
Don't You Worry Child - Swedish House Mafia
The Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga
Everlong - Foo Fighters
F**k You - CeeLo
Feel This Moment - Pitbull Christina Aguilera
The Fighter - Ryan Tedder
Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne
Give Me Everything Tonight - Pitbull w/Neyo
Good Feeling - Florida
Good Time - Owl City
Hall of Fame - The Script
How Far We've Come - Matchbox 20
How He Loves Us - David Crowder Band
I'm Not Afraid - Eminem
I Knew You Were Trouble - Taylor Swift
I Will Wait - Mumford and Sons
In the End - Linkin Park
Jet Lag - Simple Plan
The Kill - 30 Seconds to Mars
Kings and Queens - 30 Seconds to Mars
Live Your Life -T.I. w/Rhianna
Lose Yourself - Eminem
Marry the Night - Lady Gaga
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark - Fall Out Boy
Numb - Linkin Park
Ocean Avenue - Yellowcard
OMG - Usher
Raise Your Glass - P!nk
Remember The Name - Fort Minor
Right Now - Van Halen
Rooftops - Lost Prophets
Run This Town - Jay-Z w/Kanye & Rhianna
Sandstorm - Da Rude
Scream & Shout - Will.I.Am w/Britney
Sexy and I Know it - LMFAO
Shake It - Metro Station
Shattered - OAR
Skater Boy - Avril Lavigne
So What - P!nk
Starships - Nicki Minaj
Stronger - Kanye West
Super Bass - Nicki Minaj
Thrift Shop - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Titanium - David Guetta w/Sia
Too Close - Alex Clare
Try - P!nk
U & Ur Hand - P!nk
Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - Taylor Swift
We Found Love - Rhianna w/Calvin Harris
Welcome to the Black Parade - My Chemical Romance
What I've Done - Linkin Park
What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction
Where Have You Been - Rhianna
Wide Awake - Katy Perry
You Found Me - The Fray
You Make Me Feel - Cobra Starship w/Sabi

April 15, 2013

5 days left and prayers for Boston

Woke up this morning with great anticipation for those that I know running the Boston marathon. 
Weight was up a bit from pizza last night, so opted for the granola bar breakfast.  Opted for the Subway lunch as I was short on time and no snacking at all today.  Dinner was baked bbq chicken with pineapple and pasta.  All reasonable portions but got plenty of protein and carbs today!  Diet = A- (I'm eating a chocolate chip cookie as I type this)
I can still feel the knot in my lower back, and it is tender to the touch to the point that I'm guessing it's bruised from me constantly rubbing it, but at least I was mobile today...until...around 5:30.  I bent down to pick something up and it locked up again dropping me to one knee and barely able to stand up.  Fair amount of pain at the moment, so I made the call...to a massage therapist.  I met Jenny a couple weeks ago when she was doing chair massage at Telesale, and she loosened me up good for the Henry County half.  I'm headed to her place tomorrow night to get worked on and see what she can do for me.  May hit up a muscle relaxer tonight as well.  Health - C- (I'm also dealing with some increased allergies and need to get to the store to pick up some Claratin-D)
Today is Patriot's Day in Boston - a city-wide holiday that focuses on the Boston Marathon.  By now, you surely have seen, read, or at least heard about the horrific events surrounding the bombings at the finish line.  Many of my followers have connections of their own, but I will share mine from the day.
As a proud member of the Yorktown Running Club (YRC) I was anxious to follow my buddy John Mickle today.  I was receiving the text alerts from his progress throughout the morning and was posting the updates to the YRC facebook page throughout the day.  John was out strong with a 7:07 pace through the first half, and after lunch I was excited to watch the Kenyans strut their stuff to a 2:10 finish (I can run a half in that).  I couldn't feel more pride for John when I got the FINISH text on him - 3:24:10! Outstanding.
I went about my day at that point, and was on the phone for most of the afternoon.  When I finished with a call around 3:40, my assistant LeAnne ran in to tell me what was happening.  I pulled up facebook first, and then CNN second.  Both screens were littered with details, speculations, videos, photos, and pure chaos of the situation.  I checked my phone and had text messages from several - Ted, Pete, Chuck, and Molly specifically.  All of which were of great concern for John.  It was only seconds later that John had posted on facebook that he was safe, and was already in his hotel room and showered, packing to head home.  THANK GOD!  Second to John, I have a colleague in Columbus who was running today.  Andy is a financial advisor and quite fast.  I couldn't find his time online (I'm guessing the timing system was jacked up at some point), but I did eventually find that he finished in 3:14, and while I have not got confirmation, I can assume that at that pace, he was also finished and long since gone from the area.  I also know Roger Tyler from Connersville who checked in on facebook that he ran a great time of 3:26 and was fine.  (Thankful to have such fast friends today!)
Everyone else that I "know" is only through social media.  People that I follow or more specifically am a chocolate milk team refuel teammate with.  These are people that I've never met, but communicate with daily online and feel like I know them well.  Many of them are incredible people that you can follow on twitter or their blogs.  Dani (@irisheyes1982) is the author of weightoffmyshoulders.com and was unaccounted for longer than anyone.  She and her wife Tori finally checked in safe and sound, but you can read Tori's account of the day on her blog post here. So thankful that they are all safe tonight.
I was made to feel quite special by many friends today who upon hearing the news were quick to message me, text me, or even call me to be sure that I was okay, and all of my loved ones were safe as well.  My mother was so overwhelmed with messages of concern for me that she updated her FB status with to say that I was not in Boston this day. 
While the impact of today's events will weigh heavy on my mind and heart, they will NOT change who I am, what I do, or how I do it.  I am a runner.  This was not an attack on runners.  I am an American.  This may have been an attack on Americans, but I stand proud to be an American runner, and will run this weekend with renewed pride and honor for who I am and what I do.  I will pray for all the victims and their family with every mile, and I will find strength in their pain. 
5 more days and it's go time...I will be ready! 

April 14, 2013

First Choice 5k recap and the final countdown to marathon #4

This week I took it about as easy as I could by only running once for 3 miles until yesterday's 5k race.  First Choice for Women hosted their annual Walk for Life.  Thanks to their amazing staff and especially their administrative assistant (AKA, my wife), a 5k was added to the event which was also moved to Yorktown.
I had created the course myself, and while that might play into my favor, the engine just wasn't as strong today.
It once again was cold and windy, but I stretched out early as hard as I could and found a 7:43 first mile, but knew right away that I didn't have a PR in me today.  The second mile fell off to 8:16 and the final mile an 8:35 to wrap up a 25:25 time (8:12 pace).  I enjoyed sharing the race with a number of friends, and could not be more proud of my wife for her organization of an event that is sure to grow.
So today was the last real training run, an 8 miler that I shared with Olson's and Thomas'.  A 9:35 pace is pretty strong for a week out, but felt so good that the last mile was a sub 9 pace.  Sadly, I made a classic mistake of ending the run at the car, and that meant no walking cool down, and no stretching.  Once I was home, showered, refueled and rested...I couldn't move!  Even at this hour my back still hurts!
Tonight begins a daily log of my activity, diet and thoughts as race day approaches.  This is primarily for my own reflective and learning purposes to look back on for future races to see what worked and what didn't.
Today's activity was obviously very good (until I stopped), and my diet was exactly what I wanted.  Granola bar before the run, granola bar and chocolate milk after the run.  For lunch I had only a serving of pineapple.  No snacking at all, and an early dinner of papa John's pepperoni pizza, breadsticks and cinnapie!  (yum)  Only one cup of diet mt dew, and LOTS of water!  It's 8 pm as I finish this and I plan to be in bed shortly after 9 with hopes of waking up with no back pain.
The countdown is on...

April 7, 2013

A week to remember, Henry County Half Race Report, and let the taper begin...

Two weeks from today I will be a four time marathon finisher!  But the challenges of getting to this point of my journey were highlighted this week in multiple ways.  My roller coaster journey this week has 5 key moments.

Moment #1 - A BSU Senior majoring in Journalism is writing a magazine article about my journey.  Progress, success, weight loss, fitness, lifestyle, etc.  She visited me for a second time and spent over 30 minutes with me this week interviewing me for the article.  Her questions allowed me a time of reflection that I don't often take.  I dug out some old photos, showed her I use (and obsess) about my Garmin watch and data, and shared my goals for the future.  It was great!  I will be sure to share it when it is complete.

Moment #2 - Team REFUEL granted me free entry into the Nashville Rock n Roll Country Music Half Marathon.  This will be my first official race representing team refuel.  I hope my gear arrives in time for Carmel, but Nashville will be extra special, and will be a reward race for me personally after completing Carmel full the weekend before.  Making it extra special, is that Pete has agreed to road trip and race with me!  We're gonna "rock" it...country style!

Moment #3 - While volunteering at a local fundraiser, an acquaintance of mine rudely interrupted a conversation I was having to say to me, "I'm surprised to see your belly still hanging over your pants a bit there with all that I read in the newspaper about you losing weight" - Wow!  I didn't know what to say, so I laughed it off, and said, "yeah, I call it my winter padding", and walked away.  I tried to let it go, but the longer I thought about it, the more it got to me.  Totally ruined my evening.  After sleeping on it, I decided to post about it and was overwhelmed by the support of my friends.  Thank you all for reminding me of how hard I have worked to get here, and that this journey is mine and mine alone.  My good friend GT reminded me of this at lunch the next day.

Moment #4 - Saturday, I raced the Henry County Half Marathon in the cold, wind and hills of New Castle.  The race was intended to be a training race for Carmel, so we kept it that way, and just focused on our training pace.  Was great to run with Pete in a race setting, and have Chuck there as well.  I said all along I wanted to crush the last mile (redemption for Sam Costa), and that's exactly what we did.  Sprinting the last half mile into the wind.  I had lots of legs left for a fast finish and a 8:35 last mile.  My second fastest official half marathon - 2:04:09 - This was the confidence I needed to know that I've got plenty in the tank for another 13.1 in just two weeks.

Moment #5 - Yesterday I noticed that a good friend of ours had to miss her 15k training race as she gears up for her first half marathon.  I offered my help in pacing her today so that she could have the chance to get out and complete the distance without having to go it alone.  I was thankful she accepted the offer, and this morning we headed out for the long run together.  I was very proud of her as I witnessed her pushing through some very strong winds, and holding onto a very consistent 13:25 pace over 10 MILES.  Yes, she pushed through the 15k distance to reach double digit miles WITHOUT WALKING.  I didn't do anything for her, it was all her doing!  But I got to be there with her, and I hope that in some way it helped her.  I know how much it means to me to have someone faster than me hanging back and running my pace with me.  It was what I needed to do to "pay it forward".  

We completed the run with Chocolate Milk toast!  None of these moments were part of the "plan", but they are all part of the journey!  My journey!  Thankfully, what is on the plan...is THE TAPER...Ahhhh!

April 2, 2013

20 days to Marathon #4

Please forgive my tardiness in posting...
We returned from the Happiest Place on Earth on Saturday and I'm just now feeling caught up with things.  Needless to say, Disney was "magical" for the kids!  And it wasn't too bad for the adults too, but it was not ideal for marathon training.
While I'm sure I walked around 10 miles each day for 4 straight days, it was not the type of exercise that does much good for endurance racing.  My legs and feet HURT at the end of each day, and the 18 hour bus ride wasn't exactly good for my muscles coming or going!
Returning on Saturday meant I missed my 20 miler...again!  This is my greatest concern about this training period.  Having missed the first 20 two weeks ago, this was supposed to the confidence builder I needed.
I had no business going out to run on Sunday, but I had to do something, so I opted to literally run to the office (2 miles) and catch up on some work, and then take a longer route home to get me to 5.5 miles.  It just didn't feel like enough, so I tried to fuel and hydrate into Monday and then after work Monday took off for an "endurance test".  I knew I had to get at least 10 miles in, but wasn't sure how much further I could go.  When it was all said and done, I only got 11 in.  No where close to the 20 I should have dug deep for. 
To make matters worse...I didn't cool down enough, so I dealt with some pretty bad back pain for the rest of the evening. 
Today is Tuesday and I'm resting, but I'll get out and run in the morning, and maybe once more before the weekend.  Saturday is the Henry County Half Marathon, but just hoping to repeat the Sam Costa effort there.  Then the real taper is on...Hope I'm ready for all this...