January 31, 2010

Going Hog Wild

Great news. I set a PR (Personal Record) yesterday at the Hog Wild 15K, my fastest 15K ever. As good as that sounds, it really wasn't that great, this was my first 15K.

My time was 1:13:47, which is about a 7:54 pace, probably a few seconds less because the course measurement was a tenth of a mile too long, 9.42 miles. The pace was right on track for my future goal to finish a half marathon at an 8:00 min pace or less. Hopefully, I will accomplish that this year. I can finish ten miles at that pace, but after that, I fade.

I have nothing but good things to say about the new course for the Hog Wild, which was extended this year from a 5 mile length. The new course is less hilly than the old and took us through heart of Dothan. The start / finish line were set up on front of the civic center. Although I heard people complain about hills, there were no big hills like old course out by Westgate Park.

However, the facilities out at Westgate Park were MUCH better than the place they used yesterday. Next year, I hope they consider using the Civic Center. The Depot Off Main was totally inadequate for the crowd this race attracted. Bathrooms were limited and many men (me included) started going out behind the building rather than wait in line. The size of the building couldn't accommodate the number of people who showed up, and we waiting in this building for warmth, packed in like sardines. The beer and food were mostly gone before much of the 15K runners had finished because the 5K runners got to it first. The noise inside this place was more than I could bare. I had a good run, but didn't have a good post-race experience.

Another thing I hope they change; at least have something to accommodate those who don't eat meat or pork products. Did they have bananas or any fruit? NO. Gatorade, or Powerade? NO. They had Pork Beans and Rice, Pepperoni and Sausage pizza (no plain cheese pizza?!?), pork rinds, packaged cookies, and soda-pop. That was the after-race refreshments (GAG!). All the things I avoid, well except for the soda, but not when I'm dehydrated.

Hey Dumb Ass, It called HOG WILD for a reason. It is to celebrate one of the south's staple food products. It's not The Hummus Hoedown, Broccolli Burnout, or Squash Sprint.

I know, I know. But you'd think they'd have bananas and Gatorade at least. This is what or bodies need after running 9.3 miles. Is it just me, or does this make sense to anyone else?

We also had some distressing moments in this race. One of the runners from Montgomery experienced dehydration and had to be rushed to the ER. This women usually runs about the same pace as me, and then passes me at the end. This time she took off and stayed ahead of me until the last mile. I come up on her in the last mile, she was limping and wheezing, I asked asked her if she was OK, all she said she went out to fast. She never made it to the finish line. Not long after I passed her, she was rushed off by EMTs because she was having seizures. I checked on her later, she was doing much better and released from the ER later that evening.

Runners! Remember to drink plenty of water and pace yourself. Even on cold damp days, runners can become dehydrated and overdo it.

Love the new course, didn't like the new location's facilities and refreshments. I hope they improve these things, this was always a race I've enjoyed.

January 25, 2010

Life Is Meaningless

I woke up this morning at 3:30, excited by the anticipated morning run. Another iteration of my life is about to begin. My thoughts were about the utter futility and meaninglessness of life.

Maybe some of us have too much time on hands to think about stuff like this.

I did have a wonderful run this morning as the sun rose. It was cool, breezy and clear. I had an egg sandwich and a beer afterward. Sure, life is meaningless, but some days life is also good.

I did another 2.5 miles in the late afternoon, just for fun, and feeling guilty about the breakfast beer. HHMM, that extra run burned about 300 calories, I can have another beer. I really should become a hasher.


January 24, 2010

"What A Wonderful World"

Saturday with friends
sun shines on a cloudy day
I am lucky guy

January 22, 2010

Kick My Butt

I'm back from the beach and a little depressed. Don't feel much like writing. Trying to catch up with a lot of missed sleep.

I hope seeing my favorite running buddies at a local race tomorrow will lift my spirits.

Today I rested.

Mileage Stats:

Jan 21: 3.5 (Intervals) + 4.5 (Beach run)
Week: 34
Year: 94

January 19, 2010

Recovering and Training

One of my running buddies asked me the other day; "What training plan are you using?". I didn't have an answer for him. I didn't know if I was going to run the half-marathon I did this last weekend, so what I've been doing is training to maintain my fitness and not hurt myself. I don't want to go through another "no-running" recovery period.

So I'm just kind of "winging it". Every week I try to fit in one or two interval days, Tuesday through Thursday, a long run Sunday or Monday, a pace run on a non-interval day, several comfortable recovery runs with two days of complete rest, one which I do upper body workout. I'm not going to stress myself to keep up with a training plan, I've done enough of them to know what I need to do. I don't have any goals except to keep running and having fun. I always seem to do better when I quit paying so much attention to specific goals. This week I'm trying to keep it easy until my calves quit whining

Today I went to the outdoor track to run intervals, but I backed off the intensity and number of repeats to a point where I'd be six weeks before a half-marathon, since that is how long until my next half-marathon, 4 x 800m 3:35/3:45/3:40/3:42. The first one was a little too fast, so I intentionally backed off a bit, It felt good to be off the treadmill, but I'm feeling a little pain in the area I injured last year, so maybe I'm not ready for this. I'll see how it feels tomorrow.

Let's see. My training plan has me scheduled for a 4 mile barefoot beach run tomorrow. I guess I'll be heading to the Gulf. Trying to keep it fun, I'll be back on Friday. If you don't hear from me, it is because I decided to become a permanent beach bum.

Mileage Stats:

Today: 4 (Intervals) + 4 (Run for fun)
Week: 26
Year: 86

January 17, 2010

Bully Hills

I knew from the beginning, my lack of hill training would be factor in my finishing time at the Auburn Classic Half-Marathon. The places I train are very flat, or have short hills. In Auburn, the hills, while not very steep, are very long. Much like the Montgomery Half-Marathon, there is a bully of a hill near the end of the race, and it knocked me down several times.

I started out with a nice, even, not too fast pace of 8:oo. I usually check how I'm doing at mile 1 and 2, then not again till 7. Mile 1: 8:25, Mile 2: 15:55, Mile 7: 55:25. The voice in my head shouted "YEE-HAW". It's where I wanted to be, just maintain this pace.

There is a new feature on this route since the last time I ran this race. A new neighborhood street had been built cutting across the bike path just before the turn around. It turned the path into a roller coaster, very short steep downhill, cross the street, then a short steep uphill. Since it was just before the turn around, you had to go through this section twice in a short time, messing any hope of maintaining a constant pace, because it was impossible to run fast either up or down the roller coaster. I think it was just before mile 7, so it was another reason to cheer myself at being at my target pace. I only wanted to maintain that pace through mile 10, I knew the last few miles of the race was ALL uphill.

Somewhere between mile 8 and 9 I started getting strange sensations in my legs, like they were about to give out. A few times it felt like I was about to lose control of the legs. Am I dehydrated? Electrolytes low? I had my mid-point energy gel and was eating jelly beans. (Thanks Heather, for the Jelly Beans in resealable packets.) Then I started getting these strange sensation in my arms, like a little pulse of electricity was shooting down my shoulder to my hands every few minutes. What the ...? I slowed down, started focused breathing, going to make sure I stopped for Gatorade when I could.

When we made the turn to run the small section through "Wright's Mill" subdivision, I slowed, grabbed a full cup of Gatorade, took a swig because the cup was very full, squeezed the cup so I could keep running while sipping the drink. While I was focused on this task I ran head-on into a faster female runner who was coming back from the turnaround in the neighborhood. Spilling most of my drink on us and the ground. I barely had a sip left. Luckily there was a turnaround and I'd be back at the water stop in about a mile. The second time I just slowed enough to take a big swig then threw the cup on the ground right away. Mental note: I need to get a bottle to carry my own drinks at these races.

I hit the 10 mile mark at 1:21:??. I was off my goal pace now. At Chickamauga, I hit the 10 mile mark at 1:19:??. And the hardest part lay before me. There was a bully standing between me and the finish line. The bully knocked me down several times, he taunted me to stay down, but I kept going and finally got past it. Another female runner at the same pace had a coach with her helping her past the bully, and with their help we forced the bully to pick on someone else. Sorry guys, he was a big bully. if I could have knocked him flat, I would have.

The last half mile felt good, downhill after a long uphill. Then another bully met me just before the finish line. This one held on to me from behind, with the finish line in sight. The last .05 of a mile was a steep climb to the finish line, I really think they should move it to the bottom of the hill. My goal was to beat my previous attempts at this fight. I succeeded. Unofficially 1:49:40.

My worry about the weather was needless, it was almost perfect running weather. The bully hills near the end of the race had the bully winds on his side.

I'm feeling good and not too sore. I probably do a slow 3-4 mile run later today. (I did 4)

Mileage stats:
Today: 4
16 Jan: 14
Week: 18
Year: 78

January 14, 2010

Go Away, Black Dog. Shoo!

One thing I've done with this blog in the past is to write down my dreams which affect my moods or are significant or vivid enough to have be stuck in my head all day. Sometimes these dreams have me waking up laughing or in a particularly good mood, even when they are about emotional times in my life. I have had running "nightmares" the night before a race, where I show up late, or can't find the start line, but then I wake up and feel a great sense of relief to realize it was just a dream.

However, last night, I had one of those dreams about running which made me wake up with this overwhelming sadness. I wonder of it was the dream, or just the result of my current bout of depression which started on Tuesday, and seems to be getting stronger today. Other people's laughter, innocuous remarks, and stresses at work make me want to burst into tears. Is it just a chemical imbalance?

The dream took place at the beginning of race, doing my usual "getting ready" routine, walking around talking to people as they pin their numbers on their shirt, talking to the race officials and friends. I walk up to this group of runners standing around a table pinning on their 'bibs'. My number was 9. I place my bib on the table where others have placed thier bibs, I pick up some safety pins, and when I go to pick my number, I can't find mine. I turn over several, but they are all other numbers. Other people help me look, but we can't find it. I remember talking to the race officials saying I lost my number to see if I can get another number, but they say I'm already in the system. I try to get a piece of paper to hand them at the end of the race, but it is raining and when I try to write on it, the paper falls apart. It is just minutes to the race, and a girl walks up to me and asks what I'm going to do, and I can't think of anything, I just shrug my shoulders. She then reaches in her pocket and hands me a folded piece of paper. It is my race bib. I'm relieved, and I say "Thank you". She looks at me surprised, then walks over to the guy she is with and says; 'I can't believe he said thank you". I think about her statement while I'm trying to pin on my bib, and realize she was playing a joke on me, or trying to keep me from running. Why? That is when the sadness hits. The race starts, but I don't run, I walk back to my car and drive away.

On a side note, can anyone name a famous black dog? (Don't anyone say "Snoop Dog") I was trying to think of one for the title of this post, but couldn't.


January 13, 2010

Backing Off A Bit

I'm trying to back off the mileage a little bit for the race on Saturday, but as I try to do that, the weather is teasing me with almost perfect running conditions, cool and dry. I can go at my normal pace and barely break a sweat, so my 3 mile run planned for Tuesday became 5 miles. The "easy" 3 miles on Wednesday had me running faster than usual and barely feeling it, and then 3 miles became 4. "Just one more" the voice in my head screams. I submit too easily.

I will be taking Thursday and Friday off from running, even though the weather is supposed to be fantastic, and the race day forecast is rain. Lovely. Mother Nature's wicked humor. You think I care, go ahead, hit us with your worst. Whatever.

Mileage Stats:
12 Jan - 4
13 Jan - 5
Week: 25
Year: 60

January 11, 2010

Cold, Cold, Cold

Although we had ice and snow in the forecast this week, it never amounted to any more than a few minutes of sleet or snow. I was hoping for more, despite closing and delayed opening, the roads Friday morning were as dry and passable as any other morning. The only thing unusual, was the long lasting cold spell.

The running days this week have been a lessons on how to dress for a cold run without overdressing and getting too hot and sweaty, or under dressing and have body parts screaming in agony. I've enjoyed the cold because I seem to perform better, but I've cussed it when my hands felt like they had been hit with a sledgehammer.

Since it rarely gets cold enough around here to get your money's worth from good cold weather gear, I've had to make due with a cotton /* gasp */ hoodie and wearing rolled up socks over my gloves as make-shift mittens. This last month has been the only extended cold snap I've experienced since moving to the south ten years ago. I must be getting used to it, the last few days it has not seemed as bad to me, even if most of my other running buddies are still complaining. The only time I really get uncomfortable is when I'm running into the wind, but the discomfort seems to energize me. I'd rather run in the bitter cold, than not run at all. I also prefer it to running in extreme heat and humidity we have here in July and August.

I'll be running the Auburn Classic Half-Marathon this Saturday, the temperatures are supposed to be in the 30's, with a chance of showers. Two years ago I ran this race with those same temps, but on a windy day with HEAVY rain and snow. It was the most miserable conditions I had EVER experienced, muscles cramping, hands numbs, and every part of me chilled to the bone from being completely soaked, there was no way to stay dry. I hope this year will be better. I'm not setting a goal. I would like to finish in my usual window around 1:50, but Auburn has many hills. I haven't been doing any hill training the last few months because I'm still nursing tight abductors, but they are feeling better than last year and no longer affecting my groin.

Mileage Stats:
Jan 10: 8.5 (AM) + 2.5 (PM)
Jan 9: 5
Week: 16
Year: 51

January 7, 2010


Did intervals on the treadmill today, did easy run through the neighborhood yesterday, 5 Miles each.

Mileage stats:
6 Jan - 5
7 Jan - 5
Total for year and week - 35

January 5, 2010

Running Quotes

I get a daily e-mail with a Runner's World's quotes. The last few weeks I've received several which match my philosophy about this obsession addiction pastime lifestyle.

"Running is my private time, my therapy, my religion." - Gail W. Kislevitz, writer

"I can't imagine living and not running." - Paula Radcliffe

"Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running." - Sarah Condor

Today I did treadmill intervals at the gym , 800m, 3x3:30, 2x3:22, incline set to 1, 400m recovery jog between(2:15), 800m warmup and cooldown. I added in a 4 mi easy afternoon run after work for a total of 8 miles.

Mileage Stats:
Today - 8
Year - 25


January 4, 2010

Rest Day

Today I took a break from the cold, windy, punishing amusements of Jack Frost and did a light upper body workout inside. I'm officially signed up for the Seaside Half-Marathon. Tomorrow I plan intervals, on the treadmill at the gym. Today's high was 34 with 15 mph winds.

Mileage stats:
No change

January 3, 2010

Chilly Sunday Miles

Although the temperatures reached the 40's today the wind chill was way below that. I started out my long run in the sunny afternoon, feeling very comfortable for the first 3 miles, but then I made a turn and was facing a cold breeze, then the sun started getting lower, and I noticed the puddles in the shady areas were still frozen, then I was in the shady areas becoming frozen. Even with gloves, my hands went numb, which 7 miles later, were torturing me with a pain that felt similar to them being slowly crushed. I need running mittens. Other parts of me felt the cold, but my fingertips were the only part that were in pain. Filled a sink with warm water and soaked my hands til the pain and numbness were gone. I will be getting those mittens very soon.

I managed to keep my pace at a comfortable 8:30 minutes, running the first three miles at an 8 minute pace, then forcing myself to slow down.

Mileage Stats:
Today - 10
Year - 17

January 2, 2010

Saturday in the Park

I went for a relaxing easy run this morning with the Saturday Morning Running and Coffee group. It was a sparse crowd today whose main goal was to get the run over and get to the warmth of Starbuck's. I was giving myself a break today (not at McD's) to prepare for a long 10-12 mile run tomorrow. We had one new runner today, Sandy, who is training for the Mercedes Marathon (full) in February.

Today - 3 miles
2010 - 7 miles

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

I'm going to try and post daily updates of my training, races, daily mileage, and mileage for the year. I always start these things with good intentions, but never keep them up. This blog is going on it's fifth year, although the updates have been pretty rare lately, I'm going to try and post at least the stats.

2009 in Review: Last year I only did 25 races, down from 35 races the previous year, but I have made many more valuable friends through the local running club and an informal group that meets every Saturday morning at a local park. I took an eight week break from running this summer because of an injury, but it didn't take me long to work my way back to running my best half-marathon. I'm encouraging more runners to get out and train with others and get involved, and like me, make goals, make it a social activity that's healthy for spirit, mind and body. I have never been as anchored to a place as I am now with the group of runners who have befriended me. Thanks to these people, you know who you are.

Starting 2010: The first day brought together R3 runners to start the year off right with the Annual New Year's Day Chili Run. This year we had the best turnout since the tradition began. It was cold and damp, the rain gave us a break, but not the wind. To my surprise, I was not chased by any dogs. The post-run chili, beer and mingling with other runners was enough to take the chill out of all those who participated. It was a good time.

I won this unique door prize at this event, it's just what I needed:

The run was 3.3 miles, my time was 25:04. I did a cool down of about a mile after the run.

2010 Miles: 4