Monday, September 18, 2006

For LisaPow

Tapering. Something that I am enjoying right now, probably a little too much. My advice for the taper and marathon in no particular order:

- Enjoy it.
- Don't stress about not running as much. The body needs time to heal.
- Cut back on your calories only slightly. Don't worry about a little extra weight gain.
- Cut your toenails a week before.
- The night that is two nights before your marathon is the most important, as there is no way you're sleeping the night before. Get a solid 8 or 9 hours in.
- Nothing out of the ordinary in your diet the week before the race.
- Nothing spicy for the two days prior to your race.
- Carbo-load, but don't overdo it.
- Don't forget your band-aids and vaseline/bodyglide in order to prevent chaffing.
- Eat breakfast in the morning. I usually eat a banana, drink a gatorade, and have a bowl of cereal about two hours before.
- Use the port-a-johns at least twice. You don't want to have to stop.
- Sign up for a pace group. If you can't keep up with that pace group, don't sweat it and when the next pace group catches up to you, stick with them.
- Wear shoes that have only about 50 miles on them, but make sure they are the same make/model that you have trained in.
- If you plan on wearing any cold weather gear during the marathon, make sure it's something that you don't care about, as you will be tossing it on the side of the road at about mile 4.
- Rotate water and gatorade at each aid station. Don't overdo it.
- Take a gel every hour. I recommend the ones with caffeine, but if you haven't used ones with caffeine before, don't try them for the first time the day of your race.
- If you're tight, stop and stretch.
- If you're in pain, walk for a minute, then try to pick it back up.
- Write your name on your bib or your arms or better yet, have it stitched on your shirt. When you're at mile 22 and people are screaming your name, it means everything.
- Let the people at the end of the race ice you down. A lot.
- Eat plenty of ice cream at the end, then go to Tony Romas for all you can eat ribs.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Humbled And Delusionaled

DSC_0027If you look closely at this photo, you can see the salt that my body purges while I'm out on a long run. Last Saturday's salt levels weren't particularly bad, as it wasn't very hot, but it was the first time I remembered to take a picture of it. I'm surprised that small woodland animals aren't running up to me for a lick.

Last Saturday was my last big long run before Tahoe. 22 miles. I'm happy to say that I will not be running another such run for at least 9 months. Remember, I'm on the one marathon a year program. During my long runs, I need something to keep my mind off the fact that I'll be running 22 miles. I've developed a real passion for running people down and not being passed. Prideful, yes. Distracting and fun, yes, yes.

I was moving along pretty well, picking people off one by one or in one case a huge group of people and then off in the distance I saw him, a runner about a half mile ahead of me. I was determined to get him. I slowly started to reel him in. Surprisingly, it took longer than expected. It was probably about four miles before I caught him. As I caught up to him, I could tell that this guy was a serious runner and also a little bit older than me. We were also both running sub-7 miles. As I drew abreast, he started talking to me. He asked how far I was going. I puffed out my chest and said, 22 miles. He laughed and told me to ask him how far he was going. I asked and he said 22 miles. It turned out we're both running marathons in three weeks. He then told me that he was shooting for a 2:55 marathon and that it would be sweet if he could do it because he was turning 51 on Monday and to PR right after turning 51 would be special.

I hope he didn't see my jaw drop. Wow. Amazing. I told him he was the man and then we chit chatted for another couple of minutes before we hit his turnaround point. I hope I'm still running strong at 51. If genetics have anything to do with it and they always do so I'm not too worried about it, then I'm sure I will be.

Now I told you that I like running people down and I don't like getting passed. Well, I don't remember the last time I was passed. It's probably because I treat every training run like a race, but what can you do. To run fast, you've gotta run fast. Well, at about mile 18, I heard footsteps behind me. My heart began to beat a little faster. No way is some chump that is out for a 3 mile run going to pass me at mile 18. I'm not a mark. I'm the marker. So I slowly sped up. I couldn't shake the guy. Finally after about a mile, I'm resigned to getting passed. It's going to happen. But the person won't pass me. At this point, I'm beginning to get annoyed. Just pass me already dammit. I refused to look back as I didn't want to see this person's smiling face as he toyed with me.

About a minute later, I realized that there was no one behind me. What I took for footsteps was in fact the sloshing of my two water bottles. My delusional already having run 19 miles mind was playing tricks on me. I was glad that no one was around, as I'm sure I turned an even brighter shade of red.

To infinity and beyond!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Coming Down The Mountain

I realize that I am somewhat obsessed with this mountain. I won't promise never to talk about Mt. Diablo again, but I'll try to incorporate other mountains such as this one into my endurance athletic feats, but for now, Mt. Diablo it is. At least this isn't about running. It's about cycling, something I only do once or twice a week.

My office is full of endurance athletes. Just about everyone has run multiple marathons and about half the office has done a triathlon, with one guy having just completed an Ironman. I'm not even the fastest guy in the office. Maybe second on a good day. And everyone rides. One of my peers lives in Danville, the next town over and once a week rides up Diablo from the south side. We decided to ride it together once a week. Yesterday was the first day.

I rode around Diablo to Danville, which is about a 10 mile ride, and then we took off. A shortcut through the Danville Country Club and we were on Mt. Diablo Scenic Boulevard. The south side is much different than the north side. It's more wooded, longer, and has some flat recovery stretches, which are key. On the way up, I'm gasping for breath and laughing at the same time. The guy I'm riding with used to be a professional mountain biker and knows his stuff. He likes to play the "Let's go 70%, let people pass us and get about 20 bike lengths on us, then hammer down and go after them" game. He especially enjoyed doing this when someone on a $5000 bike named after a very famous cyclist who he'd actually met passed us. Comments such as, "They better back that up." and "His jersey matches his rims, which match his bike?? He better back that up." were heard several times. Like I said, it was an amusing ride.

What wasn't as amusing, but was very surprising was the number of tarantulas crossing the road. I guess it's mating season. I saw two going up and probably another two going down. Almost nailed one, which would have been a mess as the things are huge.

Anyway, we got to the top, took a quick break, looked at the sun, and estimated that I had another 20 minutes of daylight. Time to bomb down the mountain. This is where it was almost spiritual. The picture above, while not taken by me, was what I saw. Mist covering the valley and the sun going down to my left. I laughed out loud at the beauty of it, which probably startled the two guys on a tandem that I passed going 40mph, but what can you do, my bike goes fast. I'm a little tired today, but not sore. It's definitely a ride that I'm going to do at least weekly.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Mt. Diablo Trail Run

Mt. Diablo trail run
A guy at church I've spoken with a couple of times asked me if I wanted to go running with him Labor Day morning. He was very humble about his running ability and concerned that I wouldn't want to run 'slow'. I told him not to worry about it and that I enjoyed running with people of all abilities, as it's nice to have company. He then asked if I wanted to go on a trail run. Built up at this point thinking that I am a running god, I said sure and we agreed on a time and place. I told Liz that I would be going for a nice easy run, probably 3 or 4 miles. Yes, I was wrong.

We met up at 8am this morning and proceeded straight up a mountain. Mt. Diablo to be exact. In a little over 3 miles, we gained about 600 feet in elevation. Brutal. At the top of the first climb, he asked what my heart rate was. Fortunately, I hadn't brought my heart rate monitor, as I would have likely had to tell him that I was approaching 200. Nothing like going anaerobic first thing in the morning. Of course his was 173. Oh, did I forget to tell you that this guy is 12 years older than I am?

It was actually a very nice run, once I learned how to breathe fire. We're going to do this run weekly. 7.5 miles of burning quads. Actually, the last mile or so is pretty flat. That's where I showed him how it's done. You know, running on flat asphalt. It's so tough.