Sunday, April 29, 2012

So it's been a while.  I figured writing about rest after a marathon wasn't very interesting, and nothing more needed to be said about Boston.  But I'm working back into the training, so maybe I can say something interesting now...

My next big races coming up are mountain races for quite a while.  Likewise, I'm doing more training on the hills than I was earlier this year.  This actually works pretty well for marathon training too, I think, because this gives me a good, long period of lots of strength, and running more on trails means I can run more with less chance of injury.  There is the risk of taking a fall, like I did on Friday, but my fall Friday was because of a loose shoelace, barely bruised at all, and on some of the flattest, easiest running I did that day.  Frankly, I keep telling myself that I'm too afraid to fall on the really hard stuff.  The thing with the shoelace really drove home that I need to listen to my mother.  She came along because she really wanted to see the trail that I was running on, and warned me about the shoelace before I started.  I think every time I don't listen to my mother when she says something about training, something goes terribly wrong.  Granted, she was an Olympian for Norway in Nordic skiing in 1980, so she knows a thing or two.  The sad part about my mother coming to see the trail was that she was too afraid of heights to actually make it far enough on the trail to see much more than the parking lot.

I ran 18 miles today.  I was really pleased with myself, because I went out at a pretty decent pace, and negative splitted the run.  I also finished building a greenhouse from scratch today, and given my lack of carpentry skills, I'm very pleased with it.  By which I mean, it is still standing.

Also, it looks like I got into the New York City Marathon, so hopefully that goes well.  But I've got some time before that, so I'm probably better off thinking more about having a great summer of mountain races and less about Manhattan.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I have a sign in my bedroom.

"Some people race to see who's the fastest.  I race to see who has the most guts."  -Steve Prefontaine

I probably should say something profound about that, but I don't really have the energy.  So instead, I'll explain what happened at Boston.  Going into the race, I heard a lot of people talk about how everybody prepares for Boston's uphills, then gets killed by the downhills.  To prepare for this, I did a lot of downhill intervals.  Most of Boston's downhills are roughly a 2% grade, give or take a bit, and that was what I was doing around 1/3 of my intervals on.  I knew exactly how fast I could go down a hill without having shot legs at the bottom.  Also, I kept in mind that I turned into a full time runner a year ago.  I ran a 2:20 in Chicago on about 6 months of being a runner instead of a skier.  Now, I have a year under my belt.  I'm about 10 lbs lighter and just about everything about my running fitness is much better than it was for Chicago.

When race day came, I felt prepared.  It was hot, but I thought that since Colorado had a few weeks of 80s during March and April, I would be okay.  I told myself that my race plan was to go out at the correct pace and run my own race.  I understood that Boston is a big race and I could potentially go out far too fast, so I went out slower than I knew I could, just to make sure I didn't go out faster than I wanted to.  Within a few miles, nobody else was running with me.  I told myself that they would be back, but that I just had to keep up a good pace and jump in with them once they caught me.  If nothing else, it would give me a few miles of my pace before I tried to run theirs.  At the time, I thought that if anything I should be going a little faster, because going down a hill doesn't require a great amount of effort, especially if you are ready for it and know how to run the downhills.  I was trying to not pay any attention to the fact that I was leading because it's a 26.2 mile race.  I figured I could let the crowd pump me up during the last 6 miles.

As it turned out I probably wasn't as prepared for the heat as I thought I was.  It started with stomach cramps.  Badness steadily moved through my entire torso.  Then it moved into my extremities.  I tried to double down on both drinking and pouring water on myself, but my digestive system wasn't receptive.  In the two days since the race, I have yet to actually feel hungry.  I told myself that I was just going through a rough stretch, needed to run my own pace for a few miles, and then I'd get back into it.  I've done enough mountain running that I felt confident on the uphills and downhills, which is most of the course after 15 miles.

As it turned out, the rough stretch lasted for roughly the last 20 miles.  I think I started swerving a bit around mile 23, but I'm not sure.  After the race as I rode the subway back to the hotel, I almost passed out.  It wasn't my day, and I'm at peace with that.  If I would have run conservatively, I may not have had as bad of a result, but it still wouldn't have been my day.  I would rather have a really bad race while trying to run a great race than just a pretty bad race while trying to just have a pretty bad race and nothing worse.

Every great race I have ever had has been the result of taking big risks.  That is the only way I know to have great races, and the day I am unwilling to risk everything in a race is the day I need to find something else to pour my heart and soul into.  I try to run every race like it is going to be great, because if it turns out it wasn't my day, it wouldn't have been my day anyways.  If I'm going to run aggressively, I have to accept that there will be some bad races, accept those races and try to learn from them.

I have working theories as to what went wrong.  The heat definitely hurt me, but I'm not sure if that was all.  Because of the heat, I made sure to drink a lot before and during the race.  Another theory that I have is that my stomach problems were because I drank more than I was used to before and/or during the race.  I will continue to think about what exactly went wrong, and intend to learn from it.

If I can figure out how, I'm going to disable comments on this post.  Apparently there is a lot of drama on some message boards, and I'm trying to stay away from it.  I find that if I don't read all the bad things people I've never met have to say about me, then I'm a happier person for it.  I haven't read the message boards about my race, don't intend to, and don't really want a bunch of e-mails about the same type of comments on my blog.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Apologies for the extended time since I've updated.  Given that my every day life seems...well, every day to me, I struggle with actually thinking things in my life are interesting enough that people actually want to read about them.  I'll start out with the most important things, saying when I'm going to be in Boston for the Boston Marathon.  I'm bib 26 for those watching.  That way people in the area who want to see me know that and when I'm there.  Then I'll let the blog devolve into trying to make mundane, uninteresting things in my life seem interesting.

I'm arriving in Boston the evening of Friday, April 13 (oooh, spooky), running the race on the morning of Monday the 16th, and leaving before I see the sun on Tuesday the 17th.  I'll probably be pretty lazy and not up for much during Saturday and Sunday, and I'll probably be pretty tired on Monday afternoon and evening.  I'm going to a PowerBar Recovery Party after the race (assuming I can walk by then), although I don't know where or when that is other than somewhere in Boston sometime on Monday.  And I'll be on a plane before anybody with any complaints about my race can find me on Tuesday morning.

I'm done with the important parts of my blog, so you can all stop reading.  Seriously.  Because all I really have to say is that I'm coming off one of the most pathetic moments of my life a few days ago.  I got a first degree burn from a sock full of rice.  That's about all there is other than things like working on community presentations, training, running away from vicious turkeys, you know, the stuff that happens all the time around here.