Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fail? Check.

The reason I started this blog was to track my adventures as I focused on the completion of four goals (posted on the right side of this blog). I only intended on completing the first goal this year, which I failed at accomplishing. But worse than that, as I look at my current state of fitness it's apparent that I've made little progress over the last year. I'm healthy, and I'm a decent runner. But my goals weren't to be a healthy and decent runner. They were to improve my fitness toward a measurable goal...that of being able to run a 7:15 minute mile for 26.2 miles.

Here's what I've learned about myself though. That I think long runs (15+ miles) are boooring!! Good thing I have a plan to trick myself into getting in "Boston" shape...

Step 1: Ultramarathon is off the list. If I'm not going to enjoy training for it, why should I train for it? This is a hobby right?

Step 2: Half Marathons are the new Marathon. I enjoy every run that goes into training for a half. So my number one priority now is to accomplish goal #4. Run a half marathon in less than 1 hour 25 minutes.

Step 3: Is this sounding like that New Kids on the Block song? Step by step... oooh baaaaby...gonna get to you girrrrrl. You DON'T want to hear me sing. :)

Step 4: After accomplishing goal #4 I'll be running a half marathon in a 6:30 minute mile. So at this point I just do about six distance runs between 18-20 miles. Then sign me up for my qualifier!

Step 5: Duhhh, I've already qualified for Boston at this point in the Steps. Why are you still reading?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Marathons are Turning Me Gay

Weird things can happen when you are pushed past reasonable bounds of exertion. I've read about people talking to imaginary people during ultra marathons because they start to hallucinate. I've never gotten that bad, although I did become a bit of a crybaby during this last marathon I ran. And not from pain. From "sentimental value"...

I've been fretting this Santa Barbara marathon for a long time. First is because long ago I had set my sites on this being my qualification for Boston. And second because I hardly trained for it. Ooops.

I knew long before the race that there was no way I was going to qualify for Boston, so the lack of training was more worrisome just because I knew running the marathon was going to REALLY suck!! How little did I train? Well, let's just say that I trained more for my first marathon. And during my first marathon I basically spent the last 8 miles focusing on not puking/passing out.

Surprisingly, the Santa Barbara marathon didn't go as bad as my first one, even though the final 8 miles of Santa Barbara were also spent in hell. So let's get into the interesting part. It was about 4 miles into hell (i.e. mile 22). There was a family of 4 people holding a sign that read "Great job Steve! You are almost done. Finish strong. We love you!!"

I read it, and I was overcome with emotion. It was just such a nice sign! It was a sweet token of love for Steve. His family looked so happy, and they had probably been waiting there awhile for him. And I was in a mental grip of despair. I started to cry. And then quickly realized that I was running a marathon, so I got a hold of myself. But then came the upbeat cheering person.

She was at an intersection at mile 23. It was raining lightly so she was sitting in her car to stay dry. She was screaming at the top of her lungs, "You guys are so awesome, holy crap you have almost run a marathon, you are almost there!! Keep going, I know you can do it!" All that stuff that spectators yell. Except that she was really into it. I started to cry. And then, again, quickly realized I was running a marathon... Not sitting on my couch watching a sad movie. What the hell?? I almost cried twice?? I'm just going to write this off as one of those weird things that happens when you are pushed past reasonable physical levels of exertion. Either that or marathons are turning me gay. Just like Baby Carrots (as Stephen Colbert would say).

Even when I'm not on mile 22 of a marathon I tend to be a sentimental person. Never to the point of crying when I see a "You Can Do It" sign. :) But I like to think about good memories of the past as much as possible. And try to find ways to extend the value of those experiences; whether it be to nurture a relationship with somebody so that more good memories can unfold, or to re-visit places that I remember. Perhaps I'm getting old. Perhaps I'm just human. Or perhaps I should train a little more for my next marathon. Probably YES on the last one. Haha.

Santa Barbara International Marathon
Time - 3:50:01
Pace Overall - 8:50 min/mile
Pace First Half - 7:50 min/mile
Pace Second Half - 9:45 min/mile. Yikes!!
Moral of the Story = Do some distance runs (15-20 miles).