Sunday, March 3, 2013

Great 12 miler...

Too bad the training run was a 30K. One of the thoughts that I picked up from training for an Ironman is that once you are "done" - you aren't necessarily finished. Yesterday, my run lost some effectiveness because my hip muscles were not strong enough to sustain my gait. So I walked, and walked, and got grumpy. Then I thought, "Well, let's see what I can do because I'm still four miles out."

So I ate  [I didn't finish this post and found it in my drafts and found it much, much later.  In retrospect, I think it's pretty darn funny so I'm posting it.]  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Houston Marathon in 5:45:09

So good to finish one inside the time limit.  Had a similar training year to last year.  Last year, the weather was perfect.  This year, not so much.  The first two or three miles was a cold downpour.  I'm so glad that the new fabrics they have dry out.  After about mile 10, I was running pretty dry.

The miles clipped by pretty well.  I did a run/walk combo similar to my training efforts and was able to sustain the last half that way.

Many years, the sense of accomplishment doesn't really sink in at the finish line for me.  The feelings I have are more around relief from the pain or satisfaction.  This year was very different.  I think that last year taught me that one of the reasons I do marathons is that they are hard and that your race in some degree does depend on the events of the day and your God-given gifts.  Last year - perfect weather, lousy finish.  This year, lousy (start) weather and good finish.  I was very thankful to have this one.

I finished this year in much better spirits than last year and signed up for some online training.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Houston Marathon in 6:07

Houston Marathon in 6:07

What a humbling race.  Nerve pain from my knee is healing, but it caused intense nausea for over half the race.  At least I tried (I'm on the finish video, at least).  Don't think this one will count for the streak, though.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Swim season over, back to workouts

I'm looking forward to having some time to work out. The knee is feeling better, so I'm going to do a track workout tomorrow. Did a bike workout tonight (inside) and put out 144 watts over 40 minutes. Now if I can just find out what I used to do...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Houston Marathon in 5:29:05

I haven't blogged in a while for a couple of reasons. First - I've been busy at a new job. Second - I really didn't feel like there was anything overly exciting to report. Third - (and I think this is the real reason) I just didn't feel as if my training and my times represented anything anyone would want to read about.

One of the reasons I run the Houston Marathon every year is that I have a streak of consecutive finishes. Ever since my ACL tear and subsequent replacement last year, it's been doubtful I would keep the streak alive. I didn't really feel like I wanted the world to have a front seat to a long rehab followed by a huge disappointment (well - a huge disappointment for me).

Over the season as I built my workout time up and my pace per mile down, my stride changed every week, sometimes twice a week or even run to run. Sometimes I could feel the knee shift, or my hip or my quad. I had hope, but every workout was its own challenge. This year I emptied the buckets of injury-avoidance knowledge and put it all into practice, because one (more) injury would mean the end of the marathon hopes this year.

Although continually improving over the training season, my times were awful. Some days were really awful - the kind that just suck the life out of you. Two examples happened in the last month alone. I went out to run and I did not make it past my neighbor's driveway. The cold and stride mechanics combined to make it painfully clear I was not going to run that night. I also had a marathon barometer run - a 21 miler. I had a great 12 mile run that day followed by nine miles of misery, walking and self doubt. That "run" came in at 5:30 - and Houston has a six hour cutoff. I knew that wasn't my best possible effort, but what knee and stride were going to show up on race day?

About two weeks before race day I had a true answer to prayer. My ten mile run came in at two hours flat. "Marathon math" is not an exact science, but the pace calculators put me finishing the marathon in 5:36. It was the first endurance run since February of last year that had me projecting a finish faster than six hours.

All that work, effort and massage led me to the start line - where it was a balmy 68 degrees with rain. Of course, this was unlike nearly all the distance runs I had done this year for training. I stuck to a plan of running comfortably for as long as possible and then just finishing - similar to my "fly and die" strategies of previous years. I didn't wear a watch because I didn't want to drive myself crazy analyzing my times. I was very evenly paced to a 2:30 half marathon when it occurred to me that I needed a salt tab. These can be rough on me - in the worst case I need about an hour of slowing down to make them work for me. I decided that with 3:30 to go I had enough of a cushion and would be thankful later. Sure enough, miles 14 through 18 were pretty rough and dark. I concentrated on walking fast and running for short stretches. All those training "run/walks" really came in handy as my body was used to cycling back and forth between running and walking. Starting about mile 20, I started passing people back as I felt better.

The last 5 miles of the Houston marathon are slightly downhill. One of the crazy things I found out about my stride is that I can really let it fly downhill, so I used that every time there was a downhill grade. More passing... At that point, I was still being pretty conservative because I know that cramps can come for you any time. I was pretty happy because I was pretty sure I was going to finish. I saw a runner bundled up in mylar on the roadside - she looked done and was just over a mile and half from the finish.

With a half mile to go, I felt like I could relax. One of my concerns throughout the race was that the race officials would detect lightning and close the course. With most of the faster runners in, they could close the course and not reopen it. My thinking at that point was that they would probably have all runners proceed to the shelter of the convention center, which would mean an official finish for me. I saw a friend who finished a couple of hours earlier.

As I rounded the last corner with about 200 yards to go, I saw the race clock reading 5:31. Throwing my conservatism and concern about cramps to the wind, I finished as fast as I could. Sure enough, my chip time was 5:29:05.

The only food items that were 100% certain gluten free at the post race party were the bananas and the chocolate milk. I might want to do something about that next year...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Knee improving - wish it were faster

Tried to run today for the first time in a while and just didn't have it. Maybe tomorrow. It feels like my stride is shifting again as my leg muscles up.