Merry Christmas?

Oops, I forgot to post things. Merry Christmas.

I made the tags and then used butcher paper and twine to wrap presents this year. I think I’ll do this every year.

By |January 3rd, 2012|Family, Photo|1 Comment

NC again

We went up to North Carolina to see my parents for Thanksgiving but didn’t stay long. It was fun anyhow.

By |November 26th, 2011|Family, Photo, Travel|0 Comments

Atlanta Marathon

Two weeks ago, fresh off of the disappointment of not running my first ultra marathon at the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k, I signed up for the Atlanta Marathon. It, like the 50k would have been, was a spur-of-the-moment race choice. Due to a few reasons, I have been struggling to get a solid base of training in lately. But I dove in head first. Practicality be damned.

Nice logo, right? I just wish it had been on the shirt.

The past two months of running have been spotty. I’ve wavered between 45 miles per week to about 5. And my long runs, well, the last 20 mile run I did was on July 23, three months before the race. I knew I was in decent shape, but how I would do over 26.2 miles was a bit of a mystery.

With all of this on my mind, I went into the Atlanta Marathon on Oct. 30 hoping to break 4 hours. I hoped I could finish in about 3:50, and thought that maybe, just maybe, I could cross the line around 3:45. When I said it out loud it sounded almost boastful to think I could do that with such shoddy training, but then again, in 2005 I decided I’d pack up my bike and ride 70 miles a day for a month with basically no training beforehand. I mean on my first day I rode 86 miles through hilly Kentucky until both of my hamstrings, quads, and calves all cramped up at the same time and I had to goose-step into a motel and pass out. But I digress. I’m stubborn and when I get an idea in my mind it’s hard to move it. So there I was, planning to break 4 hours if I had to run myself into the ground.

Of course, the marathon was on Sunday, October 30, and Sara and I had already planned to go out Saturday night to celebrate Halloween (why miss an excuse to dress up as the cast of Seinfeld and drink?). We ended up going to the High Museum of Art to see some DJ. I dressed as a pretty crappy Newman (entirely my fault). At about 12 I figured it might be time to think about going home. I ended up getting about 3.5-4 hours of fitful sleep. I was apparently too nervous and excited to sleep well.

5 a.m. came quickly. I drank a few cups of coffee, threw on my running clothes, and headed out to the car to drive over to Atlantic Station. I wore my regular running shorts, some cheap fleece gloves, my Albany Marathon shirt (people along the course called me Albany a bunch), and some arm warmers. I was freezing at the start line, but eventually I got used to it.

Feeling pretty good around mile 6.

I expected a starter’s pistol to go off, but right around 7 a.m. the pack of people in front of me just started running. With a field of only ~1,300 marathon runners, it was nice to not be too crowded for the first couple of miles. As we ran down 20th street and took the right onto 16th, I knew I felt good. I wasn’t nervous or even too excited to be honest, I felt like I was just out on an easy run.

Miles 1 through 6 were pretty uneventful. Around mile 6 the course took us down Capitol Ave under the Olympic rings and toward Turner Field. Back in 2008 my first half marathon, the Atlanta Half Marathon, had its finish line there. I remembered how awful I felt nearing the end of that race and how unprepared I’d been. What a difference a few years makes.

My mile splits up to the 6th mile were 8:43, 8:31, 8:13, 8:13, 8:16, 8:07. I was feeling better and better. The next three miles were all right at 8 minute miles.  I felt pretty good. In fact, as I passed some of the cheering groups, I started to feel amazing. I was high fiving people as I ran by, closed my eyes and listened to the bagpipers along the road, and really really enjoyed the first half of the race.

 

Still feeling good as the race turned down Virginia Ave, I started to get a tiny bit worried. Did I feel too good? Was I digging myself a hole for later on? All I could do was keep my pace in check and just keep on running.

Somewhere around mile 18 the short but steeper hills began. I knew it had been too flat early on, so I wasn’t surprised. I’d also been running through the area enough to know what to expect. It hurt some though. I felt the lack of training for the next few miles more than I did at any other time in the race.

I also started to worry more. “You can’t cheat the distance,” I’d read before. A few people had doubted my ability to go sub 4 hours due to my lackluster training, and their voices ran through my head. Was I going to hit the wall? Just keep running, I thought. If I hit the wall all I’m going to do is keep moving my legs until they won’t go anymore.

The doubting gave way to simple pain when I turned left onto Peachtree Road. I’ve never run the Peaachtree Road Race before, but I heard others saying that we met up with Peachtree at just the right spot to run up Heartbreak Hill. At that point I knew I was 3 miles away from the finish line, and nothing short of my legs falling off was going to stop me, painful or not. I stayed on pace on a couple of side streets, and finally 17th street was right ahead.

My legs had been twinging for the last few miles, but all I could do was keep going. I’d stretch them later, or so I thought. About a quarter mile or so from the finish line my legs cramped up for good. I’d had a decent amount of energy gels and water through the race but apparently had needed more salt. I ended up sitting down on 17th street, just minutes away from the finish line and stretching. I was sure a 3:45 marathon had slipped away from me. I got up and started running again. Nope. More hamstring cramps, more quad cramps. More stretching. I finally got up and started hobbling. It turned into a jog and finally I was back on pace.

There wasn’t any more twinging, so I started sprinting (as well as I could after 26 miles). I heard my parents yelling my name but couldn’t turn to look. I could see the clock at the line and knew I was cutting it close to go under 3:45. I thought about the disappointment I felt when I ran my 40:02 10k in June, and I pushed as hard as I could. I crossed the finish line in 3:45:03 clock time, but my chip time was 3:44:39. I was under 3:45 and had surprised myself. I was 17th in my age division (awesome!) and 164 overall.

Here are the stats from my Garmin GPS: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/125324157

 

 

 

 

Post race massage, needing a beer.

By |November 7th, 2011|Family, Running|2 Comments

What a difference a day makes

Of course after whining on about how terrible things are with my running, I go out the next day and have a great run.

Vibram Five Fingers to the rescue?

 

After I got off of work early, I had the idea to put on my Vibram Five Fingers and go for an easy run to see how my running form is. It struck me sometime this week that I hadn’t run in them at all lately. Some people use these as an every day running shoe, but I like to treat them as a tool to adjust my running form. Shoes with big heels and tons of foam padding allow you to run with a pretty sloppy stride. It’s easy to get lazy when you have big buffers to keep you from noticing that you’re landing on the outside of your foot or making a variety of mistakes.

Highly worn outsole of my Saucony Kinvaras

 

I had some suspicions that my very worn-out Saucony Kinvaras (almost 650 miles in them) were contributing to this tendonitis (you think?) so I pulled on my VFFs and went for an easy run. I felt basically no pain, and quickly realized my form had gotten pretty sloppy. I got a little angry with myself for havingbeen so lazy with my running lately. After I’d been getting so many great longer runs in so often I took it for granted that I didn’t need to do maintenance. I stopped stretching as much as usual and gave up adjusting my stride and then, bam, Achilles tendonitis. Oops.

The New Balance Minimus Road shoes didn't work out for me

But, I’ve gotten lucky. It was my birthday on Tuesday (so close to 30 it hurts) and now I have a chance to run out (sorry for that terrible pun) and get some new shoes thanks to my awesome family. I actually stopped by Big Peach Running Co. and got a pair of New Balance Minimus Road shoes, but after a couple hours of walking around in them I had some heel pain and I knew they wouldn’t work. I’d wanted to like them, but it wasn’t going to happen so I returned them the next day. I did try on the Saucony Hattori running shoe and it felt great, so I should have a pair delivered on Tuesday.

Saucony Hattori: much better, thanks

 

And to cap off my first good run in a while, when I got back home I saw that my new copy of Relentless Forward Progress had finally been delivered. Time to start reading up and getting ready for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k.

Relentless Forward Progress: reading up on running an ultra marathon.

 

By |September 3rd, 2011|Family, Photo, Running|1 Comment

10 steps back…

This summer has been a bit of a disaster. Well, running-wise at least. Outside of the running, I’ve gotten a new job, I was able to move into Atlanta like I’d wanted to for a little while, and am now able to see my friends a lot more. Plus it’s nice to live so close to great places like the Porter Beer Bar.

So there have been definite upsides (I mean I’ve seen more bands play shows in the last month that I did all last year), but with all of these changes came a serious disruption in my running schedule and my usual routines.

Man or Astroman? at the Earl

 

I get pretty sick of getting into routines, but it had been working well for me with my running. I’d usually get a ~10 mile run in before work a few days a week with a longer 15 or so mile run on the weekends. It was great, I was routinely running 40+ mile weeks and feeling as strong a runner as I ever had. But, of course, things change. I got a new, better job, which is great but left me with less time for runs in the mornings. Couple that with the fact that, for the life of me, I can’t seem to sleep well these days, and there you have a few reasons as to why I can’t seem to get up on time anymore. It’s not so much that I don’t have the desire or the drive or any of that (I signed up for an ultra marathon, I mean come on), I just sleep right through the alarms.

So I was pretty happy two weeks ago when I finally got back to a 40 mile week. Though my runs were more in the evening and not really on any set plan, I was still happy to get the miles in. Until the Monday when I headed out for a longer run and ended it short thanks to some tendonitis in my right Achilles. Lame. I’ve taken a couple weeks off and had a short 3 mile run yesterday, but I’m still not back to 100% and it’s frustrating. I was hoping to run in the Asheville Half Marathon and beat my time from last year by a few minutes, but it’s not happening.

So now I’m playing it safe and trying to get some rest and recovery in. Hopefully I’ll be back out on the road soon though. I’ve got some new running shoes to break in.

By |September 2nd, 2011|Family, Friends, Photo, Running, Work|3 Comments

New Things

I’m in need of new running shoes again. I feel like this is going to keep happening sooner and sooner each time.

I saw Mike last night. I went down to help him move some heavy furniture, and then walked over to Park Tavern for dinner and then The Independent for Trivial Pursuit and drinks.

Got some free plants from work on Friday. I ended up getting a bunch, and planted 90% of them tonight. Here’s some of what I have growing on the patio right now:

I had some leftover seeds from last year, so I threw a ton of lettuce seeds in a long container. I sprinkled some flowers around the outside as well. We’ll see how they do.

There’s more, obviously:

By |May 15th, 2011|Family, Friends, Photo, Running|1 Comment

Repairman

A few weeks ago our dryer quit drying. It would run, but wouldn’t actually heat up. I did what anyone would do, called my dad to see what he thought, and looked up any info I could on Google. I eventually opened the dryer up to start figuring out what parts needed to be replaced and was a little shocked to see what was in there.

By |March 30th, 2011|Family, Photo|0 Comments

Trips and Stumbles

Despite my sprained ankle less than two weeks from my first marathon, I’m getting more and more excited about the race.

By |March 1st, 2011|Family, Friends, Running, Travel|1 Comment

No Snow day

We got about half an inch of snow yesterday. It melted quickly, but it was pretty at work.

By |February 11th, 2011|Family, Photo|1 Comment

The last two weeks in photos

I’ve been a little absent on here, but that’s because I went up to Laramie, Wyoming, and then enjoyed the rest of my break from work. But I did happen to take a bunch of photos, so it wasn’t a complete wash.

By |January 3rd, 2011|Family, Friends, Photo, Travel|0 Comments