Sunday, September 30, 2007

First Run with a Coach

I set up an arrangement with the guy that owns one of our local running stores to help coach me to improve my form, gait, speed, etc. We met this morning at 6:15 and he spent about 40 minutes with me. He helped a great deal with my breathing, hand and arm movements, and with my gait. I don't remember all the medical terms that he was referring to with me gait, but I was basically striking my right foot so my heel was inside and I was planting my foot toward the outside. In doing this I also was swinging my right heel behind me extremely to the left. We concentrated on working towards a more neutral heel strike with that foot and improved it greatly before I had to leave. I didn't turn my watch on for this session but I figure that we must have done close to 1.5 miles.

Probably the most significant difference that I noticed was in my breathing. We started out the session doing a short very easy jog that when we stopped it had me winded. In seeing that how winded I was he had me try to regulate my breathing more and it was amazing how much better I felt in just paying attention to how I was breathing.

This was my first session and I felt I made big strides (pun intended) with what he was showing me and I"m looking forward to more from him later.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bad Run that Turned into a Good Run

We did 12+ miles today, total time of 3:01:19 and the overall pace for me was 14:17. It started out very slow, the wind was blowing which for OKC and this summer that was unusual. I struggled with the first 5 or 6 miles, with right leg shin pains and with my breathing it seemed for some reason.

However, it did get better and I finished pretty least for me. The splits looked good, definitely negative, way negative in fact...first half 1:33:45...second half 1:18:45. My leg quit hurting...well almost quit and I felt good...I finished about 3 minutes ahead of my running partners...I'm sure I'll pay for that next weekend.

We have a half marathon coming up on October 13 and I think we are ready. We are going to be doing 16 or 17 miles next weekend, so the half marathon will actually be an easy run for us, but a race none the less.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Marathon Photos...I Hope

At long last here are some photos from the Lewis & Clark Marathon on 9/16/07. It is so incredible how the photos tell the story of my energy levels.

I'm somewhere on the first half of the course in the photo above, I'm just not sure where, but I'm still full of &%#* and vinegar at that point. Bring on the world!!!

Here I am near the half way point just before or right around mile 13, being crazy. My running partner is just out of the photo doing the same thing. My tongue is not hanging out because I was tired...not yet anyway. There is hardly anything I do that my tongue doesn't try to get into the picture somewhere (ok Marcy here is your point to step in for comments).

This was taken about a quarter mile from the finish line. A whole different image than two pics above it. The vinegar and everything else has been drained or consumed. I'm running almost on empty at this point. I was so surprised to see that my Garmin showed I was able to get back into the low 13 minute per mile pace for miles 25 and 26. My guess would have been that I was crawling.

WHOOOSH!!!!! finished at long last. The time is gun time, my chip time was 5:56:02!!!! Just after this photo was taken I stopped dead in my tracks and realized I don't have to take another step, I finished I was a marathoner. Then I quickly realized that if I didn't move I would probably fall down. What an experience!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Today's Question and Deep Thoughts

I noticed that in deducting the difference between the chip time and gun time of my Lewis & Clark Marathon I ran the first half about 5 minutes faster than what I ran my half marathon in April. I believe that the training at greater than half marathon distances was beneficial in the improved HM time. That leads me to today’s question:

In order to improve full marathon time and to build better stamina for the 26.2 miles, shouldn’t I work towards longer than marathon training runs? If I continue in my training to max at 20-22 miles, how will I ever see any significant improvement? What distances is everyone maxing at in marathon training? We are currently running 4-5 miles on Mondays and Wednesdays with our long runs on either Saturday or Sunday each week. Would it also make any sense to up my weekly mileage? We are currently in the 14-18 mile range just after completing the marathon less than two weeks ago. I do know that incorporating some speed work into my routine at least every other week will help improve time and endurance, so I’ve got to get beyond talking about it and just “get it done”. I know I may not be the fastest horse in the race but I also know I’m not the slowest mule on the course either. While I’m able I still want to do the best that I can in my runs and that means improving my times when possible.

It was sort of funny today sitting in the Oklahoma City airport, yes I’m traveling again. This time I am off to Colorado from Monday to Friday. Anyway, the fact that I finished the Lewis & Clark Marathon is finally sinking in for me. I sat and was people watching, a favorite time passer for me when I travel. In watching the other travelers I felt a pride in knowing that I’ve accomplished something that so many others haven’t even thought about much less attempted. I’m not really feeling all that cocky just good about what I’ve done and the journey that I’ve walked and ran over the past 2 years.

My shin problems are back again it seems, still in the right leg. Today the pain wasn’t as noticeable when I got up as it was yesterday. I’ve started taking my liquid anti-oxidant again (Monte Vie) and I’m wondering if that is truly the reason the pain is lessening. I know that anti-oxidants are capable of great things in the body.

It is so incredible to think that I’ve got a half marathon coming up in less than 3 weeks and I’m not nervous about it or apprehensive about the distance at all. The feeling is that it’s just going to be another training run. I’m really looking forward to what November, December and January will bring. Running 3 marathons within 90 days to achieve my first level as a Marathon Maniac, that creates a bit of the jitters.

The time between now and November 18 will be spent training again, building base mileage as I work towards new goals. Now that I know I can do the distance, I’ll be signing up for the Tulsa – Route 66 Marathon this coming weekend. I am already committed to the Honolulu Marathon on December 9 and the Houston Marathon on January 13. I’m excited to have these targets out in front of me and equally excited that upon completion of them I will have four marathons behind me in four different states. On a long term note, I’m toying with the idea of eventually running 50 marathons in 50 states, a lofty goal for a newbie, but food for thought and another reason to run.

Looking ahead to next year, at least the first half of the year, I see an entry into the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon (running the full this time), then about a month and half later entering the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN because that is within an hour of our grandkids and a good excuse for a vacation with them.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lewis & Clark 2007 Marathon Stats

Well here are the mile by mile stats from my race last Sunday. I was in great company it would appear. Dick Beardsley was running in my age group and managed to just beat me. He finished in 2:56:49, and I ran behind him at 5:56:02...waaaay behind him *LOL*.

Ok, now for my stats:
I believe these times are based on the gun:
First half: 2:46:55 Pace: 12:45
Second half: 3:09:07 Pace: 14:26

These times are from my Garmin:
Mile 1: 12:51
Mile 2: 12:37
Mile 3: 12:41
Mile 4: 14:01 (Think this included a potty break)
Mile 5: 12:09
Mile 6: 12:09
Mile 7: 12:13
Mile 8: 12:00
Mile 9: 12:12
Mile 10: 13:13
Mile 11: 12:15
Mile 12: 12:22
Mile 13: 12:35
Mile 14: 13:00
Mile 15: 12:34
Mile 16: 13:27
Mile 17: 13:04
Mile 18: 13:07 (Fatigue started to get the best of me from this point on)
Mile 19: 14:06
Mile 20: 14:47
Mile 21: 18:24 (I'm glad I didn't quit here)
Mile 22: 15:49
Mile 23: 15:20
Mile 24: 16:22
Mile 25: 13:18
Mile 26: 13:25
.02 Mile:13:27

So ok no negative splits, but after looking at things and blowing out Mile 21, I'm glad to see that I was able to get back into the 13 minute/mile range for the final two miles...I would have never guessed that I picked up the pace that much....again thanks to that nameless lady that finished just ahead of me for being an inspiration to get in under the 6:00:00 time frame.

Saturday...Home Again At Last

Well still NO race photos yet. Maybe later today. We are running either 6 or 7 miles this morning around Lake Hefner. I haven't run this week because of a pain I've had in my right shin but it feels better today.

I'm excited about running again, first time since the marathon last Sunday. Other good news is that I've confirmed that I did the marathon with no...none...nada...blisters and I feel great for that.

Thanks everyone for your comments on the race. Yes that was the first and it definitely won't be the last. We have a half marathon in Madill, OK that we are now going to train for that comes up in 3 weeks. I can remember feeling so strong at the half marathon point of last Sunday's race. Glad I felt that way since things seemed to fall apart after that.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm No Longer a Virgin!!!!!!! (Caution - - Long Report)

As of yesterday, Sunday September 16, 2007 I lost my virginity….again. This time it wasn’t as a teenager, or in the back of a vehicle, but it was definitely more memorable than that “other” first time. I lost it at 7:00 A.M. and was in a crowd of at least 5,000, no it wasn’t an orgy. A gun was fired and I officially started my first marathon. The location was St. Charles, MO, just outside of St. Louis and the event was the Lewis and Clark Marathon.

The day was great, low to mid 50’s for temps, cloudy, not much humidity, and little to no wind.

I ran with my two training partners from Edmond, Clyde and Rachel. Clyde was there to run the half-marathon; Rachel was there to run the full 26.2 miles with me. Rachel’s sister Alice was also participating as a walker in the half-marathon.

As for times, well Alice finished her half in just over 4 hours, Clyde finished his half in 2 hours 46 minutes, Rachel finished her full marathon in 5 hours 44 minutes…AND…I finished my FIRST marathon in 5 hours 56 minutes (13:28 pace).

Rachel and I ran most of the first half together and ran a pace of 12:34 for the 13.1 miles. Probably a bit fast for me to be effective with my finish of the last 13.1 miles, but I did finish. No negative splits today, not even close. But hey, the finish today was the key, the fact that it was under 6 hours was icing on the cake for me.

The end result for everyone was no injuries, no blisters, and no quitters. Well I must admit that around the 23 mile point I had some serious thoughts of quitting, I was tired, had no energy and couldn’t formulate complete thoughts, or so I thought in my own head.

This marathon has some fabulous scenery along the way. The last 13.1 miles is all on what is called the Katy Trail, a woodland area trail that is made of crushed rock and dirt base, so it was very easy on the feet and legs. We crossed the Missouri River at mile 7, in fact mile 7, according to their race map sit right at the midway point on the bridge. This was also the “hill” for the marathon. We ran through areas of rural farming (beans and corn and maybe more) through old town St. Charles that was originally established in 1796 and as I mentioned the Katy Trail. The run through the Katy Trail was often covered with tree foliage so we ran in shade, as the sun did come out at times but did not stay out for long. The races both finished on the west side of the Missouri River in the Lewis and Clark Frontier Park area.

Clyde and I shared a room and we were up at 4:30 to get ready to catch a shuttle bus to the starting line area by 5:15 A.M. We were the first on the bus and the driver got a bit disoriented where we were supposed to be let off and we had to get to the start line by a race official using a golf cart. We got there early enough that our first trip to the port-o-potties did not require standing in line, not so for the second trip just before the start time. We were able to hook up with Rachel and her sister rather easily so we were all in the mass start together. The beginning was a slow walk to the actual start gate that took about 5 minutes, so our gun time and start time should be off by approximately that much.

Early on in the race we were dodging a fair number of walkers but it wasn’t a big issue for us. Rachel and I soon were out ahead of Clyde. At the 2 or 3 mile point I suddenly realized for the first time in a long time I was running pain free (no shin pain, no feet or toe pain, no ankle pain) and my shoes didn’t seem to be bothering me.

Mile 3 saw us having to make a bathroom pit stop that was relatively short. Miles 3 and 4 were a short side-trip out and back through an industrial area that was neat because it gave you a really good indication of the number of people that were both ahead of us and then also that were still behind us.

Miles 5 and 6 were pretty uneventful. Well mile 6 led us up to the approach of the bridge over the Missouri River. While on the bridge I lost my visor and had to stop to grab that. I panicked briefly as I did not see my Oakley sunglasses laying with it as I figured if the hat went so did the glasses that were on top of my head at the time. When I didn’t see them I figured I had lost them earlier….till I reached up and felt them still on my head.

After hitting mile 7 at the top of the bridge we had a long down hill off the bridge that allowed us to drive our pace time down in the neighborhood of 12:25 for a while….that felt good.

Mile 8 we had to give way to an ambulance that went running by in the same direction we were headed and we later realized they must have picked up a runner out near the 10 mile point. I hope they weren’t in any severe pain.

Miles 9 and 10 took us through a more rural area just outside of St. Charles, very laid back and quiet.

Mile 11 gave us our first exposure to the Katy Trail for maybe a mile, running alongside the Missouri River.

Mile 12 took us through the historic area of downtown St. Charles.

Mile 13 saw Clyde suddenly appear and pass us by as he finished his half-marathon. He ran a very strong race today, much stronger than the half-marathon that he ran in Oklahoma City in April.

At this point Rachel and I continued on our journey working our way back onto the Katy Trail. For this particular race there were over 4,500 entrants for the half-marathon and only 850 for the marathon. So after we left the halfers it got a bit lonely at times, or was that because my innate ability to run at the back of the pack.

We ran together until Mile 17 when I started to lose energy and then we seesawed some, but by Mile 18 Rachel and pulled away to a commanding lead. By the way, Rachel was the runner that I beat at the Oklahoma Half Marathon in April of this year and she vowed then that I wouldn’t beat her again. Little did I know how seriously she would trounce me in this race. I have to applaud her though, today she was “on her race” from the start and I just feel fortunate to have run with her for 17 miles.

Between Miles 18 and 20 she slowly pulled ahead to the point where I lost sight of her. At 19.5 we made the turn to return the Lewis and Clark Park, via the same Katy Trail and she was smiling as she effortlessly ran by me. Not long after that I lost sight of her for good until I got near the finish line and she was cheering me on along the sidelines.

It was at Mile 18 that the left side of my brain started to try and convince me that I wasn’t capable of finishing a race of this caliber. I kept reverting back to positive affirmations that seemed to keep me putting one foot in front of the other.

At Mile 21 Clyde found the two of us, first Rachel and then he waited on me. It was great to actually get my hands on a 20 ounce bottle of water and a baggy of sugar-coated mini-wheat cereal. During this stop a speed-walking lady passed me by. She was part of one of the several organized efforts that were participating for one cancer or another. By Mile 22 she was joined by a “coach” that had run out to catch her. I caught up with her about the time the “coach” caught up to her and overheard the speed-walker say that if she didn’t finish this marathon in less than 6 hours she would not participate in another. I thought, since I was getting more exhausted by the step I would follow them in, or at least attempt to do so. I was by now keeping a weary eye on my Garmin and the average pace for the race, straining to keep my pace faster than 13:34 which I thought I remembered would be right at 6 hours. As I ran behind this couple I found I could just catch up to them during a run but not pass them. Then when I walked I was left in their dirt due to the pace the speed-walker was maintaining. So I would walk my pace then run a faster pace to catch back up only to be left behind on the next walk. This went on from Mile 22 to the finish line.

At Mile 23 Clyde found me again and gave me a colder bottle of water, a God-send and my baggy of cereal again for several quick mini-munchie bites. Then I was off again to catch my speed-walker again and again. She crossed the finish line just ahead of me and we both finished in less than 6 hours. Without her to lead me in I suspect I would have finished far worse or perhaps not at all.

The finish was great, hearing my name as I crossed the finish line knowing that I had become a member of a select group on Earth that had completely such a distance run.

The end was a bit anti-climatic. We had to hurriedly go back to our hotel to shower so we could check out of our room. To lay some quick ground work here, I run in compression pants and a compression shirt. These are good for not allowing the armpits and thighs to chafe. However, there is an area between the cheeks that I forgot about and the shower reminded me that it had become sore. An error that I hope I don’t make again in the near future if ever.

Overall we had a great time driving over together, meeting Rachel’s sister, preparing for the race and participating in the race. Even though I was doubting my sanity for wanting to accomplish this event around Mile 22, I finished and I feel great now as we drive home Sunday evening.

One last observation, I have to give a great deal of credit to both of my running companions (Clyde and Rachel) for being great coaches over the past 3 months in preparing for this day. I ran out of energy and that can’t be blamed on their training efforts. I feel that without their assistance and guidance I would not have finished today.

Sorry I'm Late...No Internet Connection Yesterday

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!

I ran the Lewis and Clark Marathon, finished in 5:56:02. I've got a more detailed race report written up that I will put online later today and photos to follow either tonight or tomorrow. Oh my God!!!! what an awesome feeling. I'm really happy and pleased with myself. I accomplished both of my personal goals, finish the race and finish under 6 hours. Thanks for everyone's wonderful support.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Finally Another Run

We did a very slow 4.12 miles this morning at a pace of 14:54...actually more walking than running, but none the less we were out on the streets again....YEA!!!!

We strategized about the marathon on Sunday, what to take, what to wear, what to do on little as possible, outside of eating and maybe visiting the race expo.

Last night my wonderful bride presented me with an early race present. Several weeks ago I had looked at some Oakley sunglasses and was amazed at how well they fit and the eye comfort they afforded out in the sun. We talked about maybe we could get them after I finished this marathon as sort of a reward....well, she sneakily ordered them for me ahead of time and decided I need them for race day so I got a present from her last night. It was too dark to wear them this morning but I'm looking forward to wearing them this weekend.....I Love You so much and so appreciate all your support.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm Getting Nervous.....5 Days

I'm getting nervous jitters and it's still 5 days until the marathon. I'm not nervous about finishing or anything, I'm just nervous. I'm really glad I'm running this first one with friends that will help, especially with the pace. I keep telling myself, go slow....just finish...don't worry about the time...just finish.. then I wonder what those last 6 unknown miles will be like...but then I can picture myself crossing the finish line and being happy with just being there...oh yes I'm so excited...did I say that already?

I didn't run at all while we were on vacation but did a far amount of walking on a couple of occasions and carried grandkids alot or pushed a double stroller for them...those of you that run and push a stroller my hat is off to you...awesome efforts....still I didn't run at all....

Then yesterday we were rained out of our normal Monday morning run, tomorrow we run and the weather looks like it will cooperate....we are running a very shortened route...more walking tonight when Bonnie gets home we may sneak in a 2 or 4 mile route, if the mosquitos aren't too bad.....

Did I mention that I'm nervous? It's only 5 days.....but I'm ready to conquer the beast....

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Where is Randy?

Well Randy and Bonnie are currently in Minnesota playing with the grandkids. We are waaaaaay up in the NE part of the state in Virginia, MN. Today though we will be taking Bonnie's son and kids to the NE corner of North Dakota to visit a few days with Bonnie's aunt.

I haven't run since last Monday. I didn't get any running in while in Wyoming but hope to run tomorrow morning (Monday) while in North Dakota. I did get alot of walking in yesterday when we visited Duluth, MN. We spent alot of time shopping for our daughter-in-law's birthday since we won't be with her on the actual day. We also visited the coast of Lake Superior, but it was total socked in with heavy fog. There is a story to tell while at the coast but it requires a couple of photos that I can't download from the camera just yet. It seems I left the download cable at home. I'm hoping to transfer photos from the memory chip to a CD or thumb-drive while at Target today.

Virginia is a very small town in what is known as the Iron Range of Minnesota. They do not have a Wal-Mart....yes that is true there is a town in America that does not have a Wal-Mart. They do have a Super-Target though and we will give it a try. So hopefully more photos to be posted later today or later this week.

While at Bonnie's aunt's home we will not have internet access, so may be out of touch for another couple of days. I really appreciate those that were asking about my whereabouts, and I apologize for not getting online sooner.