Monday, June 24, 2013

Bands on the Run Half Recap (and Run-Walk thoughts)

I decided to run the Bands on the Run Half Marathon at the last minute.  Anne was unable to run this weekend and I really wanted to get in a long run (I was thinking 8 - 10 miles) but I just can't motivate myself to run by myself (especially when it's hot out).  I knew that Renee and her speedy friend Megan were running this race, so I registered on Thursday for the race on Sunday.

I was up by 5:15 and already worried about "bathroom issues."  After giving up on those issues, I picked up Renee (who provided some much-needed coffee) and then we picked up Megan.  The race was in Lewiston, which is about 45 minutes north of Portland.  The drive was nice although I was still worried about bathroom stuff and was starting to worry about the heat - it was hot and humid.  We made our way to the parking garage near the start - in the middle of an old mill complex that appeared to be in the process of being overhauled for office, retail and residential use - it was a neat place.  We did not go to packet pick-up the day before, so we had to take care of that pre-race.  Apparently, we were not alone as the line for checking in was uber long.

Long line to check in

It took about 20 minutes to get checked in and then we were invited to visit another table with some freebees.  I picked up a nice Bands on the Run water bottle.  Renee and Megan also picked up these:

Proudly made in Maine!

Apparently, there is a Tampax factory in the mill complex - who knew!?!  After we dropped our goodies back at the car and ran around the block, we hit the port-o-potties (another 20 minute line).  Even after that last pre-race visit, I was still a little worried about things.  

As racetime approached, there was still a long line of folks checking in:

Still a line as we approach race time

Because of the long lines, they pushed the start back, but only by a few minutes.  I told Renee that I would run the first four minutes with her, but that I was going to do the Run-Walk method at least until Mile 11.  As we started and ran through some narrow passages in the mill complex, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to walk at all without causing some serious issues for everyone behind me.  We talked about running the first mile and then switching to the Run-Walk.  But we were out of the mill within 3 minutes and people started spreading out, so when my watch beeped at 4 minutes, I walked.  And I have to tell you, it was a little emasculating.  Here I am, half a mile from the start and I am walking.  Alone.  Ugh.  It only got worse during my second walk break.  We were approaching 2 miles and my watch beeped, so I started to walk.  I was going downhill and there were several volunteers and people cheering and I am less than 2 miles into the race and walking (again).  But then a woman running the race ran by me, put her hand on my shoulder and said: "It's downhill.  You can do it!"  Emasculation complete.  I was able to get out: "I'm fine.  It's all part of my plan!" before she was gone.  When my watch beeped again I was off to the races (ran way too fast).  I continued to really push it during the runs, when perhaps I should have just taken it easy.  Within a few cycles, I started seeing the same people over and over.  They would pass me while I was walking and I would pass them when I ran.  At one point - near Mile 9 - someone said to me: "Hey, I like your strategy!  It looks like you are staying fresh."  And yes, yes I was.

I saw my "you can do it" friend several times throughout the race and near Mile 10 overheard her saying to someone: "It's a 5k on Thursday; a 10k on Friday; a Half on Saturday; and a Full Marathon on Sunday."  I was walking so she was passing me at the time, but I was able to get out: "Are you doing the Dopey?"  "Yeah!" she yelled back.  I yelled, "Well I'll see you down there" as she entered one of the several trail portions of the run and I looked at my watch and saw that I had another 30 seconds of walking.

That leads me to the actual race course - it was odd.  We ran (briefly) through the mill complex; then through a downtown area; then on a bike path type of thing; then a trail run; then back to streets (first some rural roads and then some major strip mally roads; then back to trails and bike paths . . . ugh.  I hate trail running - my ankles are horrible and I usually twist one or both of them on trail runs - plus some portions of the trails were fairly narrow and it was difficult to walk through those sections and not piss everyone off.

Course map

My initial plan had been to Run-Walk 11 and then run the final 2.1 miles.  However, it was so hot and humid and my longest run since the Princess Half in February has been 10 miles, I quickly decided that I would only skip the last walk.  So just after Mile 12, when my watch beeped, I started walking again.  At that point, I had about 0.7 miles to go and people were starting to appear again on the course, but I kept my head down and stayed with the plan.  About half way through my walk my "you can do it" friend passed me again.  This time she said "Something tells me you will feel a lot better when this is over that I will."  My watch beeped again and I was off (for the last time).  I felt good (and strong).  I cross the last bridge and into the park where there were many more spectators.  The course has you run around the park and then to the finish.  About 1/3 of the way around the park my watch beeped calling for a walk break.  At that point I could see the Mile 13 marker and the finish in the distance, so I ran through that walk and ran about another minute beyond that right to the finish.  So in the end, my last run was about 6 minutes as opposed to 4.

Even though it was hot (way too hot) and humid (like really sticky) and even though several miles were trail miles, I was able to run a PR, beating my prior PR by nearly 5 and a half minutes!  Finished with a time of 2:01:56!  Very happy with that!

So all in all, it was a good day.  I felt fine the rest of the day, but clearly should have just turned off the competition gene and run a nice easy run (not a race).  The Run-Walk thing was great race-wise, but difficult when alone out there (especially early in the race).  I'm glad I ran the race if for no other reason than it opened my eyes to how difficult it can be to slow down on race day.  I think Anne and I are going to need to run at least one half together before the Dopey where we just take it easy.

As far as goals from last week, I ran what I said I was going to run AND I started a new book (trashy book, but a book nonetheless).  I was not as disciplined on the eating front as I'd like.  Ugh.  Story of my life.  But this is a new week, right?

Goals for this week:

Run three times during the week and one long run next weekend.
Finish my book.
Yoga (once)


Thursday, June 20, 2013

What have I done!?!

I generally run with one or two of my sisters on the weekends.  Over the past few weeks I've been running with Anne because (a) my other locally-based sister (Renee) is training for a half and has been running further than I think I'm ready for; and (b) Anne is doing the Dopey Challenge with me and we've been trying out the Run-Walk-Run approach.  Well Anne texted me yesterday to say that she can't run this weekend because her husband is out of town, or working, or something - I stopped paying attention after "I can't run this weekend."  I started to think about what I could do to cope.  I am not good at running alone - I am always tempted to just stop and walk home.  My friend John is up to 6 miles, so I thought about convincing him to run 8 using the Run-Walk method, but then I'd feel really guilty if he got hurt and I think he likes his weekend mornings.  What to do...

I had pretty much decided that I was going to see if John would run 6 and then I could (but in reality never would) run an extra 2 - 3 miles mid-morning on Sunday.  Then I thought, I should take the boys to the half to cheer on Renee.  I googled the race to figure out if it was on Saturday or Sunday (it's Sunday) and discovered that they are still accepting registrations.  Hmmm.  I have not trained for this.  The longest I've run since the Princess Half in February is 10 (although I have done 3 or 4 tens over the past month).  With the Run-Walk method I am recovering fairly quickly.... Am I nuts to think about signing up for this thing?

I texted the wife and she says, "Go for it!"  I texted the sister and get the same reaction.

So, three days before the race, I hopped online and registered!  No training.  Very little thought.  My plan is simple - survive and (if at all possible) have fun.  The race is about 45 minutes from the house, so it will take up a good chunk of my Sunday, but if the weather cooperates, it could be a really nice day.  The things we do to get those long runs in!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Stir Crazy

Had a late night meeting last night, so I decided (ahead of time) to sleep in this morning and to take the day off from running.  And here I sit, at work, looking outside. . . . .  

I think I may have to walk around town at lunch!  It is too nice to be inside.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekly Recap - lots 'o miles

Here's hoping last week doesn't ruin things for this week (and beyond).  It all started when my weekend run was moved from Saturday to Sunday (partly because of the rain on Saturday and partly because I needed a day to sleep in).  So we ran a nice 10 miler on Sunday (felt great!).  We used the Run-Walk-Run method (4 minutes to 1 minute) and probably could have run further.  Monday I ran a slow 3 miler by myself and then ran 4 with Jonny on Tuesday.  I took Wednesday off (perhaps the first smart thing I'd done all week).  I particiapted in the Maine Cancer Foundation Twilight 5k Thursday Night (start time is 7 PM) and crushed it.  I wanted to see how all of this running has affected my speed so I went out too fast and just tried to hang on.  My prior PR was 24:40 (alhtough I had run 3.1 miles by myself in April and clocked it at 23:06).  Althought I thought I was going to DIE about halfway through the race, I was able to finish (slowe than I started) with a time of 21:51.  Knowing from past experience how long the beer line can get, I skipped the medal table and went striaght for some "hydration."  Ended up meeting up with friends and drinking a few beers, before biking home.  I was up and on the road at 6 the next morning for our weekly 5 mile run with Jonny, Julia and Roberto.  My legs were still a little achie and we went a wee bit slower than normal, but all in all it was a god run.  As soon as we finished, I got an email from Runkeeper letting me know that I had now run more miles in that week than I had run in any prior week (due in large part because our Saturday run was moved to Sunday, which in Runkeeper world (or at least MY Runkeeper world) is the first day of the week).  

So after going all out on Thursday's 5k and then making it through 5 miles on Friday, we were back out on Saturday for the old 10 mile loop.  At that point, my legs were definately tired.  Somehow, we were able to finish in our normal time range (1:35) and I think I had a few more miles in me.  We again used the 4 minutes running to 1 minute walking technique and felt pretty good during the run and throughout the day.  Spent the rest of the day at ball fields (SoPo National LIttle League Champs, baby!) and then faked my way through a rock concert before calling it a day (and a week of running) - 35.2 miles!!!

Took yesterday off - Fathers' Day! but boy was it difficult getting up this morning!  In fact, the first 2.5 miles was just brutal.  Everything was tired and wanting to get back in bed.  But we went.  And now Runkeeper taunts me - 4 Miles this week, 35.2 miles last week - "Come on Justin!  What's the problem!?!"  Ugh.

For the past several years, I have the tendancy to run a lot in March, April, May and June and then I sort of fall of for July and August.  It may have something to do with school getting out and I no longer have to be up and getting the kids ready to leave the house; or it might have to do with the fact that we stay up later in the summer; or the fact that my running buddy takes a few weeks vacation and I don't do well on my own; or that it is just too hot for this fat runner.  School let out on Friday, so the kids were home sleeping with no agenda and I can already feel the pull to skip a few days (or weeks).  Fortunately (I hope) the Jeff Galloway Dopey Challenge Training schedule starts in a few weeks - I am hoping that pulls me through July and August so I don't lose too much momentum.

Knowing my July history, I am going to try to strike the right balance - shoot for three runs during the week and one on the weekend and not burn out.  With any luck, I will be able to maintain and be ready to ramp things up in the fall.

Oh, and even though I recognize that this is TMI and that no one cares . . . that toenail that took a beating at the Princess Half (IN FEBURARY) . . . .

it finally came off yesterday.  Obviously, it got NO assistance from me (I couldn't bear to even touch it).

Goals for the week:
Run a 3, 4 and 5 mile run.
Run 8-10 on the weekend.
Eat better.
Start a new book.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Run-Walk Recap (and other random thoughts)

Had a great week of running last week, capped off with a nice 10 miler yesterday morning.  For the weekday runs (3,4 and 5 miles) I simply ran through.  For the 10 miler, we did the Run-Walk-Run; running for 4 minutes and then walking for 1 minute.  Although the 1 minute intervals seem to go really really quickly, the 4-to-1 arrangement is working well.  We last ran 10 miles on May 18th and finished in 1:26:37 (8:40 pace), but I thought I was going to die and there was no way I could have run another 16 miles!  Yesterday, we finished in 1:34:15 (9:25 pace) but I could have run another 5 miles without a second thought.  AND . . . I was able to go about my day as if I hadn't run at all.  AND . . . today I was able to get up and run an easy 3 miles.  So I think I am a Run-Walk-Run convert - it definitely slows me down (but not that much), but also allows for longer runs and quicker recovery - which is KEY.

The Jeff Galloway Dopey Challenge training starts on July 2 (can't wait!) but the long runs (9 miles and longer) don't start until the end of August.  I think my sister/running partner and I have decided that we will follow the training program except that we are going to continue with our 8 - 10 mile long runs at the start of the program (when the program calls for 3, 4, 5.5 and 7 mile runs) - we're at a nice weekly place right now, and I'd rather not regress.

To pass the time on yesterday's run, we starting talking about costumes for each of the races.  I ran the Princess in a Mickey Costume (remember the yellow sneaks?) so we agreed that we would be Mickey and Minnie for one race (probably the marathon).  We also talked about Donald and Daisy (maybe for the half). That's where it gets difficult.  I'd really like to run one race as Goofy, but who goes with Goofy?  Pluto?  And what does that costume look like, all tan?  Hmm.  So that one is still up in the air.  We also talked about Peter Pan and Tinkerbell (with my sister as Peter Pan and me as Tinkerbell - that could be fun); or Dopey and Sleeping Beauty (again, with my sister as Dopey).  We discussed Chip and Dale, but much like Pluto, I'm not sure what those outfits would look like.  Cinderella and Prince Charming?  The good news is that we have two of the four costumes identified and we have months to plan.

Below are two pictures of Portland Head Light - the oldest lighthouse in Maine - commissioned by George Washington in 1787 and completed in 1791 - I googled it.  We ran by it heading south on Friday (mile 2 of 5) and then on Sunday, we passed it the other way (mile 6.5 of 10).  This is in a park (great for picnics, frisbee, etc) about 2 miles from my house and makes me happy to live in southern Maine (at least in the summer).
Heading South (6/7 6:30 AM)

Looking back (south) but running north (6/9 7:15 AM)

Plans for the week:
4 miles on Tuesday morning
3 miles on Wednesday morning
Twilight 5k Thursday evening (shooting for a PR of sub-24:43
Golfing Friday, so I don't know if I'll get a run in.
8 miles on either Saturday or Sunday
Eating better this week - I mean it!
Two little league games this week
Last week of school!

Friday, June 7, 2013

The week in review

Had a good training week and a good fundraising week. Here's the recap:

Ran 3 miles alone on Monday. Averages 8:14's. Happy with that. Bruins won Game 2. Very happy about that. 

Ran 4 miles on Tuesday with John. Averaged 9:33's. Felt strong. 

Ran the same 4 miles on Wednesday. Averaged 9:17's. Felt great. B'a won Game 3. Woot woot!

Took Thursday off. Lazy. 

Ran 5 this morning. Averaged 9:27's. ran with Julie, Roberto and John. Ran by Portland Headlight. It never gets old. 

We are in the middle of a big "rain event" - tomorrow's little league games have already been cancelled. Anne and I decided to run on Sunday instead of trudging through the rain. We'll do 10 miles with the run-walk-run method. 

New sneaks are feeling great! And bright!

Sent out a few more fundraising emails today and am now $5 away from the half way mark - with several months to go!  Thank you to everyone who has donated - it is greatly appreciated  

Let's go Bruins!


Monday, June 3, 2013

Random Thoughts

I woke up yesterday and realized that it was 15 years ago yesterday that Hope first stepped foot in Walt Disney World.  We were married on May 30, 1998 (man, I'm old) and we left for our Disney honeymoon on June 2, 1998.  She was more than a little skeptical about the whole Disney honeymoon, but I think I was able to win her over - or the food and entertainment were able to win her over.  We were pampered at the Grand Floridian and I remember how every server we had at every meal knew we were on our honeymoon and made a point to congratulate us.  Good times!

Hope and I got away this past weekend to a friend's ski condo to celebrate our anniversary.  The weather was beautiful (although a little hot).  We saw one moose and maybe 6 people during our entire stay.  It was so quiet and restful and turned out to be just the right length - long enough to recharge our batteries and just start to miss the boys.  We were back in town by mid-afternoon yesterday and had a nice picnic dinner by the ocean.  Again, good times.

Teddy is all signed up for Camp Twitch and Shout and is uber excited to go any "finally meet some other kids with Tourettes."  We are not quite ready to send him to Georgia alone and it is actually cheaper for me to stay, so it looks like I'll be spending a week in July back in Athens, Georgia.  I'll bring work so as to not get too far behind.  Not sure I am going to get much running in - I may melt!  I suspect that if he likes camp, this will become an annual event (although he'll eventually have to fly back by himself) and Teddy will likely become a kick-ass counselor when he's older.

It's getting warmer up here (finally) but I am committed to getting the miles in.  The Jeff Galloway Dopey Challenge Training starts in one month.  Until then, I am going to keep on doing what I've been doing, which has consisted of 3-4 mid-week runs (3 and 4 miles) and longer weekend runs (8-10 miles).  I am also going to try to start doing some cross training - definitely on the bike and I am thinking of trying crossfit again (loved it last winter, just need to find the time and the money).

Read today that runDisney is "plussing" up the 2014 Princess Half Marathon with another 10k and a two-race challenge - run the 10k and the Half for the Glass Slipper Challenge.

I like these multiple race events, plus it gets people to stay longer, which undoubtedly is why Disney appears to be moving in that direction.  I'd love to do this one, but think I'm going to have to sit this one out.  Family trip in September and the Dopey in January - don't think I can turn around and go back in February.  Now, the Disneyland Half in September 2014  . . . . .