Tag Archives: running

14 Day Sugar Detox – Day 11and 12

I’m ready for these 14 days to come to a close. While I have been able abstaining from sugar, my food choices have been pretty limited, especially with what I am used to eating. I plan on having a big Ole Watermelon on Monday and getting back to a more balanced course of eating. Although I am motivated to balance everything out, I’m not too motivated to type anything today…

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Day 11 – 5/22/14 – Thursday

Weight: 171.4

Day 12 – 5/23/14 – Friday

Weight: 171.0

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My Thursday lunchtime run stunk something fierce. My mile splits for the 4.45mi run were 9:06, 9:41, 10:43, and 12:28. So I started okay, but then it wasn’t pretty at all. I’m not sure how I will fair at my race on Saturday.

Friday I am taking as a complete rest day. I didn’t have a lunchtime run and will forgo taekwondo tonight as well. My legs have felt more “normal” today.

Function of Excitement

[Editor’s Note: I had every intention of posting this last week, before the marathon, but I didn’t quite finish the post. #BestLaidPlans]

It is race week for the Darlington Marathon. As I write this, there are around 72 hours or so before I start the marathon. I could tell that I am getting pre-race jitters, something which I never expect when they come to me. After all, I have more than a handful of races of varying lengths, so the anticipation of a race should be new to me.

Since I am known as “That Runner Guy”, I usually get asked a few questions about running. Of course, as a special interest, I am more than happy to go on and on (until the break of dawn) about running. Now, as a seasoned runner, I know that you can’t part running wisdom in one nugget of information. You have to probe to figure out where people are in their running and answer accordingly, in small digestible pieces.  That’s one of the reasons why I stress to first time marathons, just focus on finishing, don’t worry about anything else. There’s no apriori information to base speculation.

Now there is one thing that comes up, no matter who is asking questions and if someone does ask about it, then I address it outright. That is Race Day Excitement, it can be a blessing or a curse. But I realized today that it is really a component of the overall Race excitement (and the inevitable depression of finishing) and that got me thinking about writing about it, or getting down my thoughts before I make it into a thesis (but where I can I get a PhD in running?).

So as a Physicist turned Nuclear Engineer turned Recovering Engineer turned Statistician, I got to thinking that there must be some formula that governs the excitation levels of a running and when exposed to a source of energy increases the quantum state of the runner, both in mind and spirit. I figured that I could possibly use my own data and try to use regression to fashion an equation that has the smallest amount of error, but the highest level of practicality and (cross-fingers) might have some significance.

So there are some key events that happen leading to a Race that don’t always happen in order, but when they do happen add/subtract to the level of excitement.

1) Deciding to run a race – this is loosely proportional to the experience of the runner. A fledgling runner will, on average, get really excited about deciding to run a race.

2) Signing up for a race – I would say that this has more to do with the personality of the runner rather than anything else. Some races, especially those that you have to qualify for outright (New York Marathon, Boston Marathon, etc) or even to get a good seed at the Starting Line (Peachtree 10k, Bolder Boulder 10k, etc)

3) Injuries/Illnesses – can wreck havoc on the excitement, depending on severity of injury or the intensity of the illness. When it occurs in relation to training/race day is a multiplier to some amount

4) Proximity to Race Day – As Race Day approaches, the anxiety and excitement of the Race increases. If it is a race really important or significant to the runner, this can magnify both. The bigger the race, it happens earlier.

In my case, I’ve been pretty excited about the Darlington Marathon since I was told that I would get a very generous birthday gift of a complimentary entry. At first, my excitement was that I was running a marathon on my birthday, then I was really excited that I would get a birthday bib… that is my Race Bib will be my age (#42). Over the course of the last few months it has gone up and down as I have experienced injuries and successes.

I’ve been overcome the last few weeks with anxiety because I did not get in all the training that I needed. I missed a couple key long runs that leaves performance on Race Day in question. However, now it’s out of my hands… I can’t do any running that will truly improve my run on Race Day. So what’s a runner to do? Get excited!

On Sunday, when My Lovely and Talented Wife brought my race up as a prayer in Small Group, I switched over from “Training Mode” to “Race Mode”. Today (Tuesday) R-Day -4, I could tell that my stomach was in butterflies. This nervousness in the past has been deterimental for Race Day, as I have not felt like nor actually eaten. This was the key factor of my DNF (Did Not Finish) in 2009. I was extra excited/anxious that I was going to be a Pacer for the Knoxville Marathon that I didn’t feel hungry and therefore didn’t eat. Unfortunately, this meant that I had no energy and only made it to Mile 14 before the wheels came off. I had to stop pacing and just survived until Mile 18 when I pulled myself out of the race and had the Medical Crew take me back to the Stadium.

‘ Knowing Is Half the Battle’ so today, I made sure that I ate lunch and snacks. This evening I made extra bacon and a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies. Yeah, I know Comfort Food, but I’m anxious… it’s not a tub of ice cream. Mmmmm ice cream.

Another thing that I am doing besides eating cookies is making a conscious effort to drink lots of fluids. Last year when I ran Chickamuaga Marathon and then shortly after Flying Monkey Marathon, I realized that in preparation for Chickamauga I was drinking a lot of water. It was all the trips to the bathroom, but I put 2 and 2 together.

When I originally began thinking about content of this post, I was going to create some scientific formula, such as f(excitement)= Sum(A* + P^2 + L/E)*π or something like that. Fun cipher bonus if you solve for ‘excitement’. But, excitement is really to complicated to try to explain…

 

Preparing for Battle(field) Marathon

As I compose this, there is (technically) less than 4 days until the 2012 Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon and so this warrants a blog post to try to capture what I have done to prepare for this marathon. I would have liked to post on a more frequently basis, like in the blog-old days.

Marathon Training: The Ups and Downs

Training for this marathon has been the Dickens… it’s been the best of times and the worst of times. As with my Standard Operation Procedure for a Fall Marathon, training officially kicked off on August 1st. However, on July 29th, I pulled my hamstring and that put a damper on getting my training started like I wanted. All was good, it was at the beginning… I could deal. I would train for 12 weeks instead of 14.

For the most part, I followed my training schedule at least until I got an infection in my right leg. That infection, which was pretty annoying, kept me from running for almost 2 weeks!

Something new and different that I have been doing for this marathon season is taking TaeKwonDo classes while I am training. I had waited until after the Knoxville Marathon this past April before I started taking classes again. I was afraid that jumping into TaeKwonDo while running long distance would be too hard on my body. So, I started back with TaeKwonDo after Knoxville, so that my body would be used to the different exercises during the summer and then I would start in the fall with a TaeKwonDo base as I started running the longer distances.

So far, running and TaeKwonDo have complemented each other. TKD has improved my flexibility (GREATLY) and  body coordination (I’m thinking some parkour!) while my running has given me great stamina and recovery when it comes to free sparing in TKD. There’s a high percentages of Black Belts in the adults class, so being able to have the stamina gives me a slight advantage. Of course, I still get schooled each round, but I like learning this way from the senior students.

Marathon Training: By The Numbers

August
Total Miles: 57.12 (Average pace over all runs 8:53)

September
Total Miles: 92.58 (Average pace over all runs 9:05)

October
Total Miles: 68.49 (Average pace over all runs 9:21)

Marathon Training: to the Music

During most of my runs, I usually am listening to something on a portable device.  Now, I do not do this when it comes to sanctioned races though and I don’t seem to have any difficulty switching between the two. This Fall Marathon season, I seemed to have a Tale of Two Genres (yes, another Dickens reference).

At the start of the training, I listened to audiobooks while running: The Mood Cure by Julia Ross and a few others. However, after the infection setback, I switched to music. On the drive to Chickamauga, I’ll listen to the music but will run sans headphones. I’ll just listen to my internal speakers playing music in my head.

History apart from the Civil War Battlefield

The 2012 Chickamauga Marathon is not the first time that I have run this race. Quite the contrary, in fact, exactly 5 years from Saturday, I ran the 2007 Chickamauga Marathon in my personal record time of 4:08:38. It is my intention, even despite the setbacks, to keep the Chickamauga Marathon as holding my PR time, except with a faster time!

In 2005, I also ran at this event, except I signed up for the 10 miler race. However, I arrived late and in a rush, I started with the marathoners… 30 minutes early but I didn’t realize it until sometime later. Then took a wrong turn, was chased by dogs and ended running much more than 10 miles. Hence, ALWAYS know the course and the start time! You might just save your toe nails.

This year, I am excited to be running with Susan Stout, long time running buddy who we finally get to run in the same race!

Sparing Gear

Tuesday was my first taekwondo practice as an Orange Belt (Belt #3), well technically I haven’t gone through Awards ceremony yet. I guess that would make me an Orange Belt Elect or something similar. I noticed that during warm-ups I was able to stay upright without much effort during the leg stretches.

My 30+ years of soccer and 12+ years of running have made my legs really strong and at the same time, very inflexible. So with taekwondo and all of it’s knee bending, running around and kicking in the air, I find that I could devastate someone’s shin. Anything higher than that is unpredictable. So when it comes the floor leg stretch where you spread your legs as wide as you can, I am almost to a 90 degree angle. The real progress that I have made is that when I have my legs stretched out, I am not having to fight my sciatic muscles wanting to pull my back smack on the floor. I can lean forward slightly now.

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Today (6/6/12)… [Tangent] If I just add a few math symbols to today’s date, we can get “6 + 6 = 12” [/Tangent] is National Running Day and I ran 4 miles. Of course, I would have run 4 miles today even if it hadn’t been National Running Day.

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I’m in the process of compiling talking points for the next episode of Gravity[at]1053′. I haven’t decided if I am going to do a run-record format or something else. From my history of podcasting, I have to make the editing process as easy as possible. So we will see, maybe the podcast can be more frequent then an annual event.

Marathon Pacer Captain

This year I was asked to be the Pacer Captain for the 2012 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. What is a “Pacer Captain” you ask? My position was to organize the Pacing Group for the marathon. Now you are asking, “What is a Pacer Group?”

A Pacer is a runner who agrees to run (I’ll be generic here) a race at a certain pace with the goal of finishing at a certain time. Typically this is done by someone who has run a number of races and is familiar with what it takes to run and maintain a certain level of effort to reach the goal time.

Specifically, say you want to run a Sub 4 hour marathon and your current fastest time for the marathon is 4 hours and 7 minutes. You would run with the 4 hour Pacer and (in theory) finish in a time of 3:59:59 or faster, thus meeting your goal.

So why run with a Pacer, why not do it by yourself? There’s a couple reasons why running with a Pacer is beneficial to meeting your goal.

First, they have probably run a marathon (or three, or twenty) before and so they know what it takes to finish a marathon. Each course is different, however, the experience of what happens to the mind and body during those 26.2 miles is pretty consistent. I have a Boston Marathon ad from a Fitness Runner magazine that says:

The Seven Stages of the Marathon:

  1. Ritual
  2. Shock
  3. Denial
  4. Isolation
  5. Despair
  6. Affirmation
  7. Renewal

It’s pretty accurate in what goes through the mind during a marathon. Running with someone, anyone, can help the bad feelings not hinder as much and the good feelings maybe come a little quicker.

Second, the pace that they are running is typically an easier pace for them. Why is this important? Two reasons: easier to maintain later in the race and easier for them to talk. A pretty standard mistake for newbies and veterans alike is to start off way too fast. At race start there is so much excitement and anticipation in the air that you can feel it and it energizes you! Also, the starting lines are often congested and it makes getting started actually a little difficult.

Big races try to alleviate some of this by having starting corrals which, in theory, have runners line up approximately by their goal time. Even in a perfect world where each person is running so that the faster people are ahead of them and the slower people are behind them, it could take anywhere from 1/4 to a 1/2 mile to find enough separation to run not in a crowd. Since we don’t live in a perfect world, the distance is usually around 1/2 to a full mile of running a pace slower than desired. This can cause anxiety early in a race, which leads to #3 Denial from the list above.

More often, it causes a runner to try to make up the time more quickly by running at a faster than goal pace to make up for lost time. This leads to burn out. By running at a pace which is easier for them, Pacers are able to regulate their pace so that they can speed up or slow down based on mile split times where they can see how well they are doing.

Third, typically they are free. Mid to large marathons will typically have pacing groups as part of the marathon experience. Anyone and everyone can use them or not use them. There’s no authorization form or check-in sheet, just find them out on the course. Actually, you might be able to find them at the Marathon Expo where you pick up your race packet. There you can meet some of the pacers (maybe even the one you want to run with on race day) and ask questions if you have any.

On race day, marathon pacers are usually pretty visible at the race start. Usually they are holding up a flag or balloon that has their goal finish time printed on it for easy sighting. Also, they typically have an extra bib pinned to them (back and also the front) which also has their finishing goal time. Sometimes, they even have a certain type of uniform, like say a neon green singlet, to help you pick them out of a crowd or sea of runners.

So what’s in it for the pacer? So why on Earth would someone agree to be a pacer and run a marathon at a slower time? First, you get to volunteer your time to help others meet their goals. Second, you might get a snazzy singlet that says “PACER” on it that you can wear around town. Third, pacers can use that marathon as a training run for another marathon. Fourth, usually the pacers are given a free entry to the race.

Now, even though I have been talking about how awesome pacers are I will confess that they too are mortals. Just like any other runner, a pacer can have an off day, or even hit the proverbial “Wall”. My first experience at being a pacer was a disaster. I had agreed to the 5 hour 15 minute pacer for the 2009 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon but in the days leading up to the race, I became more and more anxious. So anxious that didn’t eat or drink very much during those last days. I last about 13 miles when I first had the initial signs that my running day was going to turn for the worst. At Mile 14 I “knew” I was in serious trouble and tried to eat anything and everything, but it was too late. I even had one of the cyclist patrolling the course to help with some aid. It was much appreciated but not enough. Around Mile 17/18 I took down my flag and took off my Singlet and at Mile 21 I found an emergency vehicle to take me back to the stadium for me to drop off my equipment. I learned alot from that DNF (Did Not Finish) and somethings that I only could have learned that way.

So 3 years later, I was asked to be the Pacer Captain and I agreed. I knew at that time there could only be one word that would describe my pacer experience for the 2012 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon… Redemption.

Recruiting Pacers is fairly easy for the slower pace times but a little more difficult for the faster times. Some Pacers will inquire directly to the race director and some will be a result of being asked, such as through a group like the Marathon Maniacs. Also part of my responsibility was to order the pacer singlets which included picking out what color and what to put on it.

I ended up picking a neon green because between a choice of either neon yellow and neon green, The Elder and The Younger picked the green. The green also went with the Volunteer shirt of different shade of neon green!

As the captain, I was also in charge of distributing the supplies that the pacers would need: their pacing bibs, pacing flag, and their singlet. Through the generosity of the race director, I was able to give the pacers some marathon logo sock as well as a nice drawstring back to put everything in.

The one, non-mandatory, requirement that for the Pacers was that they have a shift of about 2 hours at the Marathon Expo. Not every Pacer was able to do it and that is okay. Some of the Pacers were travelling and some working at the expo as a volunteer. I was only able to stay for about 4 hours in the morning because of family commitments. It all turned out well… except that a Pacer flag was left pinned to the booth as a display. Whoops!

On race morning, we all met in the Convention Center before race start. This way I could make sure that everyone had everything they needed (not like I could do much at this point) and that we could get a group picture.

2012 CHKM Pacers

The Current Suspects

As of right now, here is the short (figuratively and literally) list of marathons for spring 2012:

3/25/12 Virginia Creeper Marathon Abingdon, VA http://www.runtricities.org/creepermarathon

It’s full.

4/1/12 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Knoxville, TN http://www.knoxvillemarathon.com

8/1/11 – 11/30/11 $65.00
12/1/11 – 2/15/12 $75.00
2/16/12 – 3/27/12 $85.00

Now, this is the marathon that I usually volunteer for as a course monitor, since monitoring the course while runners are on it is fun and full of surprises. Now, I could inquire if I could run as a pacer, which is like having your cake and eating it to… just replace “cake” with “energy gel of your choice”.

 

5/6/12 Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon Cincinnati, OH http://www.flyingpigmarathon.com

$75.00 early registration through 10/31
$90.00 registration (11/1 through 1/31)
$105.00 late registration (2/1 through 4/20)

The kids absolutely LOVE Cincinnati, so going there would be like other family going to Disney World, except with lots of pigs… instead of mice.

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I’ve run all 3 both of these, there’s a logistics cost involved which may be offset by the Super Happy Fun Factor. I don’t know. Maybe there is an obscure event that hasn’t found their way over to Marathon Guide yet.

FORTY

Psalm 40
 1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
   he turned to me and heard my cry.
 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
   out of the mud and mire;
   he set my feet on a rock
   and gave me a firm place to stand.
 3 He put a new song in my mouth,
   a hymn of praise to our God.
   Many will see and fear the LORD
   and put their trust in him.

The 40 Milestone has arrived. I’m now officially a “Masters” runner, which is just an euphemism for “statistically slower runner” but even in this new age group, it’s not the most difficult (30-34 group is very tough) but it has enough “still fast” elite to fill the top spots. I’m thinking that I will keep an overall Personal Result (PR) time with denoting Masters or not.

Looks like the first race of my newly entered age division will be the CrossKnox 10 miler on Sunday Oct 16th. I haven’t worked a race since July 3rd and it’s been even longer since I ran one. I’m signed up for a pre-race volunteer spot! I need to make up the 3 that I lost this spring due to the flooding of my Civic and by a flesh wound I received at the Strawplains Marathon, during registration! Freaky! That’s like $15 of race fees that I have lost or have succumbbed to natural disasters.

I haven’t ran this race either… so it’s new to me. It’s a point-to-point 10 miler, which is highly unusual for this area. The idea of the run is to showcase the Knoxville Greenways as almost all of the course is run on them. The other thing that is different is that it is a Sunday afternoon race, we have so few races that aren’t Saturday morning. I just have to juggle the Church schedule to make sure I can get to where I need to be. Since it is point-to-point transportation is provided.

So “Welcome Forty“… I might just have to drink one in Recognition.

 

 

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“FORTY” by U2 (link if the embed doesn’t show)

Marathon Uncertainty

There’s a dark cloud that has begun to loom over my plans of running a fall marathon. What’s worse is that time is running out, fast!

FMM Logo The Flying Monkey Marathon registration will open on August 1st at 8am Central. Being one of the privileged crazy people that have ran the race in the past, I get to register early. Last year, the regular registration filled up in 32 minutes. Heh, there’s lots of crazy people trying to run this race.

My problem lies in the fact that my running budget has a mere $20 in, basically enough to register for a 5k (more on that in a moment). So I don’t have enough for the registration fee… but I don’t have the funds for the other parts of running a marathon that are important but not always included: hotel, gas, gels, food, etc. And while I really really like this marathon, I do not want to go further into debt because of it.

One option is for me to run Chickamauga Marathon. It’s probably not going to sell out [Ed. Note: RATS! Apparrently it might just sell out early – *sigh*], so I have longer to work to get the registration fee. It’s just on the other side of Chattanooga, so it’s a day trip, not an over nighter. Now while the Chickamauga culture isn’t quite as dynamic as the Flying Monkey Marathon, they have in the past provided great sundries for the runners.

I also have the Be Not Afraid Project to think about as well. More on that in the future.

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In reference to the 5k mentioned above, this event has sentimental value plus potential “good stuff” in December. In 1998, Feb 28th to be exact, is when I became a “Runner”. In that year, I ran as many 5ks that I could. Over the years, some of the 5ks became defunct or I missed running them do to travel, illness, injury, etc.

One 5k, however, is listed in my running history from 1998-2010, the Scholar’s Run 5k. In 1998, it was the 5k that set my PR time (not counting my first 5k) and in 1999, it was the 5k that I set the previous year by exactly 1 minute. Now, there have been years where my time has been relativity very slow but in those times, it has been coming off long periods of inactivity when running that 5k is the only speed work that I have done in weeks or even months. In 2001, it was my “Welcome Back” race from my hamstring injury I suffered that spring. For me, this race has a history.

The Scholar’s Run 5k has historically had a t-shirt design that I have not cared for very much. Typically, they go straight to donation. The Scholar’s Run 5k is a bigger part of a running triad: The Triple Crown of Running. It is race #2 of 3 races which if you run #1 (Spring Sprint) and/or #2 (Scholar’s Run) AND #3 Reindeer Run, you are entered into the Triple Crown of Running Door Prizes. Each of the prizes are at least $100, which motivates most in running the races.

So the question hangs: Do I run the Scholar’s Run 5k, there by depleting my running account and making funding a fall marathon much further? Were it a KTC race, then I would use the Volunteer Coupons that I earn for working the local races, but that is not the case. Decisions Decisions!

 

One Strep at a time

Ah snap… our house has been a biological wasteland for what seems about the past 3 weeks. It first started with The Brothers getting some bug from school early in the month. Then they shared it with me, you know, right during Taper Madness for the Flying Monkey Marathon. Luckily for me, with drinking a lot of water (and other potent potables), taking Guaifenesin, popping Vit. C like Smarties… I was able to “control” the bug so that I could run the Marathon.

For the most part, I haven’t had any relapses of the sickness, although I think that running for 5 hours and 41 minutes lowered my immune system down enough so that it has lingered longer than it should have. I think on Sunday morning was the turning point where the sickness has lost the war in my body. Not only did it not hurt to cough and sneeze, but the volume of phlemgh greatly decreased. As of the this post, when I cough it still sounds rough, but I think that is just a scare tactic it uses to sucker me into getting sick again. I’ve taken the whole week off from running since the marathon, so my legs seem to be reset, now if I can purge the rest of this illness out, I’d be a happy camper.

Well, because we have been playing “Pass the Disease to the Left hand side” this month, My Lovely and Talented Wife has come away as the winner (depending on your point of view) since she tested for positive for Strep this past Black Friday. Now that she’s on antibiotics, she should be free and clear soon. However, the plague that infested our household, along with the Thanksgiving holiday has made it nearly impossible to compose the Race Report for the 2010 Flying Monkey Marathon. However, with The Fam on the mend, the report should be forthcoming…

Prelude to a Monkey

Sunday, November 21st will be my 16th start for the marathon distance. It will be the 3rd time that I have toed the line for the Flying Monkey Marathon. As I type this it is Saturday night, and as of right now, I do not know what will happen tomorrow.

Mentally, I am ready. Physically, a little less confident. I am at the tail end of some congestion which doesn’t have the feel of an illness, but rather allergies. Regardless, it’s congestion… and congestion at any mileage isn’t fun. Add a few hills and WOOOOO-doggie, that’s some fun running (or lung hacking).

One of the cool things about the Flying Monkey Marathon is that once you run the marathon once, you keep that same Bib Number! Forever as far as I know. Me, I’m number 438. My personal goal is to “beat” my bib number. That is, finish the Flying Monkey marathon in 4 hrs and 38 minutes. So far, that hasn’t happened…

2008 Official Time 4:43:15 and this was the second marathon in 8 days so that I could officially qualify for Marathon Maniacs

2009 Official Time 5:31:57, looking at my running log, I don’t think that I was all that into actually running in 2009, must have been the back-to-back marathons in 2008

It’s now 2010 and while I haven’t had the “best” training season, it’s moving in the right direction. Shoot in 2011, I might even have some good races. But for now, it’s tomorrow morning’s race in Percy Warner Park. As the Flying Monkey Marathon’s website proudly states: “It’s not flat, it’s not fast and it’s not certified”… and that is just part of the allure of running The Monkey… where this year, registration filled up in just 30 minutes.

I’m as carbo-loaded as I can be, I have to pin my gels to my shorts (because that’s how I roll) and get ready for tomorrow. I don’t even need to stay at a Holiday Inn Express to be a marathoner tomorrow, however, since I AM staying at Holiday Inn Express that can only help.