Monday, November 24, 2008

Gobbler Grind Marathon/ Qualifying for the Boston Marathon

November 23, 2008. Race Day. Yesterday I ran the Gobbler Grind Marathon in Overland Park, Ks. The alarm went off at 5:00AM to begin the day. Our daughter Kelsey had made signs for me wishing me good luck as she always does (Her signs are outstanding!). Breakfast included probably the worst oatmeal I have ever made on a race day. My combination of oatmeal, soy milk, and protein ended up looking a lot like modeling clay. Pressed for time, I ate it anyway. Usually I make a pretty good bowl of oatmeal, but over the past few days that has not been the case. I arrived at the race around 7:00 on this cold November morning ready to run with a goal of running under 4 hours for the race. Race day preparation and routines are very important to me and include a good pre-race plan that is timed down to the starting time of the race. This day was no exception. After a couple of porta-potty stops and then stretching 30 minutes before the race, I was ready to go.

The race was run on a great course that included some residential streets but mostly running/biking paths. The surfaces were fantastic and the route was well-planned and challenging. The course included some challenging hills and some great footbridge crossings. The weather constantly improved temperature wise. The day was just about perfect for race day. A big thanks to the race director and all of the fantastic volunteers that helped at the aid stations. They did a great job! I wish that the volunteers at a race really understood how much their work at races is appreciated. There were several times on the course where volunteers directed runners as far as which path to take according to what race (marathon, half-marathon, and 5K) they had entered.

It was just one of those days. Everything felt great. I didn't get the best positioning in the starting pack. I was a little too far back. I didn't do a very good job of getting where I wanted to be. The race started and I quickly made my way out of the starting group of runners and was glad when things thinned out. As I approached the halfway point I was at 1:51:02. At that point, I knew I had a chance at running my goal time of under 4 hours. I decided to really let go, relax, and go for it. The last half of the race was run in 1:49. I was really happy with a negative split.

As I crossed the finish line, my watch read 3:40:02. I had just run my third fastest marathon. Once again, my Hammer Nutrition products (Heed, Perpetuem, and the Hammer Bar) provided the fuel needed to run well. I really didn't think about Boston at that point but my wife, Berta, mentioned the possibility that I might have qualified again. A quick call to Andy to meet him for lunch and a request for him to get on the the Boston Marathon website to check out what time I needed to qualify, led to the fantastic news that I had again qualified for Boston. I had run an 8:24 per mile pace and finished 2nd in my age group. Upon arriving home, I found the driveway full of sidewalk chalk congratulations that Kelsey had done for me. Yes, as the message said on the driveway, we are going to Boston again. It was a great day!

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Running Thoughtfully

Running quotes have always been a favorite of mine. Stan Jensen's website has a great section of running quotes that are serious and also will make you laugh. His website is full of great runner information that is very useful and is very easy to navigate. The quotes part of his website has really given me some things to think about the past few weeks as I prepare for my next marathon this Sunday. His site has helped me form new strategies on how to prepare for my next level of running over the next one or two years. Those goals include running a 50 mile and a 100 mile race. I know. Crazy as it might seem, the challenge is out there. The quotes that I have listed below are some that caught my eyes as I thought about things on my runs. My marathon and ultra-marathon goals will take careful planning and thought. If I stick one of these in my pocket on some dark winter evening, maybe it will give my feet a little extra bounce for the run. Enjoy!

"Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal" Luis Escobar

"I decided to go for a little run." Forrest Gump

"If you see a fork in the road, take it." Yogi Berra

"We'll tell you when to start and we'll tell you when to stop. In between, don't think, just keep running." Ken Chlouber

"If I can see it, I can run to it." Randi Bromka Young

"The 10K is a race. The marathon is an experience. The ultra is an adventure." Bryan Hacker

"If we do what we did yesterday, we'll be OK.  If we do something new
we'll be competitive. If we are always looking for new and innovative
ways of doing things then we will be the best."
- Unknown
Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Runner's Toes/ This One Hurt!

Let's just get this laugh out of the way right now. Those of you that want to laugh can, others that can show sympathy please do. Most of you who know me, know that coordination is not my main strength. So when coordination is a priority, look out. I'm in trouble.

This morning as I was preparing for my run of 14 miles, I was getting my running gear together and had to get something from the closet. As I exited the closet, my left foot didn't. I raked the door across my left foot with most of the blow coming to my little toe. Now, to say the next sounds you hear would have startled the neighborhood would be a bit of a tale. But it did bring my wife up to the area with a question that we all love to hear, "Are you ok?".

With the wild look of pain in my eyes and near hyperventilation coming on, I quietly uttered the words, "My toe! It really hurts!" Then the question of, "What happened?" Too proud to tell exactly what happened and knowing that my son Andy was coming over to run in just a few minutes, I said, "Oh nothing." Then I just walked around until the pain went down to about a "2" as they say. I then realized that I had to put this darling little now swollen toe into my shoe. The pain was intense. But then I crossed that runner's threshold and either it just got numb, or I did. I quickly walked around and did my pre-run stretching and thought that I would be able to somehow run today. I wasn't going to tell Andy. No way. I wanted to have a great run without him worrying about "the Toe". In an amazing turn of events, by the time he got there and it was time to run things felt pretty good. No need to tell the story now I thought. Time to run! We had a great run and I really had no pain at all. At least I didn't think so.

After he left, I thought it was about time to check the toe and see how it was. When I took off the shoe things appeared to be normal. But when I took off the sock, there looking up at me was a little toe twice the size that it had been when I got up this morning. It had all the colors of the NBC peacock, looking much like a boxer that had lost a fight. It was a mess. So I did what most of us would do. Applied ice. Well, the swelling went down and now it still as all the colors but is about half as swollen as it was and doesn't hurt all that much. My wife looked down at my "ultra' feet and said, "Your poor toes!" Yep, they're mine all right. Several missing toenails, a black nail that is soon to vacate its home I'm sure, and a host of other sad looking nails of various sizes, shapes and colors. Before you laugh too hard, take off your shoes and socks and look at your own toes. Not a pretty sight is it? Just call them runner's toes and and be glad your kid doesn't take you for sharing time at school!

By the way. Changing the subject. One of my favorite magazines is UltraRunning which I read while toesitting today. They have a great group of writers and great race reviews. It is a comprehensive magazine that makes you want to sign up for every race you read about. Articles are very well written and provide very good insight into the world of ultras.

Check your toes, and remember....

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Marathon2Marathon Pictures

Marathon sunrise and a beautiful start. Here are some pictures of the Marathon2Marathon Race that Andy, Larry, and I did on October 18th in Marathon, Texas. It was a great trip and a great marathon to run. I highly recommend it for your race calendar next year. The people of Marathon were fantastic and the volunteers did an outstanding job. Wow, what an experience!

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!