Thursday, December 10, 2015

Comparisons to Hitler

Hitler was an evil man and you know that from the fruit of his work, the mass annihilation of ethnic groups. He was pure evil. He killed people simply for their Israelite heritage. That being the case, it's only natural in the modern American political landscape that from time to time you see various politicians likened to Hitler by their detractors. After his comments on general immigration and specifically Muslim immigrants and visitors, Donald Trump is the latest target of the "Hitler Attack"and his supporters are likened to Hitler's supporters.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no Trump supporter. I think the guy is a joke and frankly, I wish he would sit down and shut up. However, to compare him to Hitler; that's wrong. It is as wrong to the Jewish people, the cripples, the infirm, and the rest of the "useless" people who suffered under the Nazi regime as it is to Trump himself.

If you really feel the need to compare someone or something in America to Hitler right now the only valid comparison I can think of is the abortion movement, Planned Parenthood and other abortionists. They are busy caring on his work, cleansing the population of unwanted but innocent life and I guess that makes the pro-death crowd comparable to his supporters.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2015 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon: DNS Report

The marathon is cruel. Training for it will beat you up and it will wear you down. It holds out to you the hope of glory but with that hope comes the risk of heart break. While I have been blessed and usually win the glory, I experienced this heartbreak first hand Saturday 11/7/2015 at the 2015 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

I have gone back and forth about writing this and after a few people have inquired I decided to go ahead and put it out there in case anyone else was wondering.

As you all are probably aware, I have been training for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon for the last 18 weeks. I had a rough time starting out and mentally and physically committing fully to another marathon training cycle but got that put behind me after several weeks and I dove in.

The goal was to run the 2015 Indianapolis Monumental in under 2 hours and 48 minutes. My previous PR was 2 hours 49 minutes and 46 seconds. This was the same goal I had and missed for the 2015 Carmel Marathon back in April. I believe the heat got me that day. So I felt this was a reasonable and attainable goal for a fall marathon.

While training started a little rocky , I not only hit the big important workouts over the course of the last 6 weeks, I crushed them. The 7 mile tempo run that haunted me and kept me awake nights for weeks before hand went down in a blaze of glory and I felt invincible at the end. The 20 mile long run with 14 at goal pace went just as well if not better. After this run I started contemplating lowing my goal time. Although it sounded crazy I thought I might have a shot at 2:45. That's a big difference but my paces in those 2 big workouts indicated I had the strength and fitness to hit that time.

With 3 weeks to go, I ran the Indianapolis Marathon as a long run at a good clip and felt as strong as an ox. As a final cap to the training cycle I crushed my half-marathon PR at the valpohalf  the next weekend running 1:18:53 which was a PR of 2 minutes and 14 seconds.

That's when things went bad. I felt beat up but generally fine after the half marathon but I had been dealing with some swelling on my right foot for a couple of weeks. I spent the next 2 days sitting all day at work. I have a stand up desk and rarely sit and I believe this sitting started something off with a pinched nerve.

Tuesday morning after my run my right hamstring felt a little tight. This tightening increased throughout the day. By Friday I could not even run. I literally took about 5 running steps and called it off. I don't.... not run. That is maybe the 3rd time in my life I have started a run and didn't finish.

I went Friday morning to see the Scott, the trainer, who helped me through the Boston Marathon training cycle a couple of years ago. He did various forms of soft tissue work on my hamstring and I left feeling better. I had a 13 mile run scheduled Sunday morning and decided to try and do it.

I was able, with the help of ibuprofen, to run Sunday but it wasn't comfortable.I ran another 8 on Monday. Again, very uncomfortable. Tuesday, with a mere 4 days to go, I was abruptly stopped at about 3.5 miles with searing pain in my hamstring.

I went again to see Scott. He worked on me some more and we decided to have me lay low until race day. With only a 3 mile run on Thursday, just to turn my legs over 1 more time before the race. Thursday I couldn't even make it a mile I got a hold of Scott and he got me into see the running doctor at St. Vincent Sports Performance.

After an evaluation by the doctor, We determined that the only option available to help was a big dose of prednisone and that was a long shot. After weighing the risks and benefits and knowing what kind of shape I was in I decided to give it a try. So with hopes and delusions I marched on toward Saturday.

Friday night as we were leaving dinner in downtown Indianapolis, the Budweiser Clydesdales were making an appearance. With my camera around my neck I tried to jog to catch up to them. The pain in my hamstring was agonizing. I knew then and there that I would not be running. Time to set the delusions aside.

I knew here that my race was not happening

This was a heartbreaking moment and the rest of Friday evening was hard to get through. On the bright side, I was able to cheer for my wife as she ran the 5k. I have never got to do that before because I'm always running as well while she is always there to cheer for me. It was nice to return the favor. I also had several friends running the full marathon and got to go out on the course and cheer for them as well. I'd never rather cheer at a marathon than run but it was nice to see my friends grinding it out.

Mary had a good race.

Garrett cruising to a second 2:52 marathon inside of 3 weeks.

Cliff in the final stretch of a PR performance

For now, I seem to be feeling much better and hope to return to running by next Monday. We'll see. Providing I am not on an extended recovery, I plan to build off of this training and race a full marathon in January in Florida.

Monday, October 26, 2015

2015 Valpo Half Marathon Race Report

This was my big tune-up race for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I always run a half-marathon at this point in the build up to the Monumental to get a final big fitness boost, a reality check on where I am at fitness-wise and, if all goes well, probably the most important aspect is the confidence boost that I get. I got one heck of a confidence boost yesterday, 10/25/2015, at the Valpohalf Half-marathon in Valparaiso IN.

Valparaiso is about 2 hours from home which is kind of right there on the line of driving on race morning or staying in a hotel the night before. This time we decided to get up and drive. Valparaiso is on central time which puts it an hour behind us. Meaning the 8:30 AM start was really a 9:30 AM start for me.  Making the decision to drive that much easier.

I have been dealing with some issues on the top of my right foot, which is probably extensor tendinitis, for the last couple of weeks. I saw my soft-tissue guy last Friday. He worked on it some and got me feeling quite a bit better and then I spent 2 and a half days loading up on Advil. The end result was that the discomfort was completely gone or masked for this race and became a non-issue.

I have noticed that before big workouts/races I spend about 16-24 hours in a kind of melancholy state questioning why I do this and in this case why the heck I am driving 2 hours to go run a half-marathon. I think it is how I deal with the stress of knowing that I am getting ready to put myself through a great deal of suffering. The melancholy aside, Everything went as planned in the morning. We got out of the house on time, the drive was smooth, and we arrived in plenty of time for check-in and warm up.

Standing at the start line I am going through a lot of self-doubt, a lot of internal bargaining, trying to get out of what I know is about to happen and just wishing we could start and get this over with. Racing hurts and when you are racing long distances like the half-marathon and marathon you are in for a long and grueling mental and physical battle. The start signal was given at about 8:32. 2 Minutes late, not bad.

The primary goal at this race was a new PR in the 1:20:xx (old PR was 1:21:07)  and the plan was to go out about 6:10 for the first few miles and then start tightening the screws to get to an overall pace of 6:06, finish strong and break 1:20 if everything was perfect.

Mile 1 -- (5:45) The course is looping around an industrial complex to come back by the start line. I lead for about the first half mile. I had no intention of going out this fast, in fact I studied my other half-marathons both good and bad and talked to myself about controlling the first mile and not blowing up. This is exactly what happened at Sam Costa back in March and that race ended bad and I missed a PR by less than a minute. But, the pace honestly doesn't feel that bad. I tell myself to bring it down before it's too late. About 1/2 mile in another guy takes command of the lead and I'm happy to let him. I'm already ready to ditch my gloves and I toss them right at the 1 mile mark.

Miles 2 and 3 (5:54, 5:50) Mile 2 is still in the industrial park and then the course heads out on a long stretch of a highway access road. I'm still too fast but I don't really have anything to gauge my pace with and it still doesn't feel bad. I'm still running in 2nd place. I'm starting to worry that I am going to blow up big time. I remember back to my last big workout. I found that repeating to myself "All day, every day" calms me down. So when my mind starts to wander to the negative I just tell myself "all day, everyday" until I feel calm again. But I still want to slow down a little closer to goal pace. I pass a grave yard and offer the race up as a sacrifice for the souls of the bodies buried there.

Mile 4 -- (5:52) I pass a small gathering of spectators. The guy in the lead is probably a good 1/4 mile ahead of me and I have no idea what kind of gap I have on 3rd place. I don't look back in races. It's a mental thing that admits vulnerability. I'm not giving you that if your behind me. So in small races I rely on hearing, seeing shadows, and the crowd. I listen to the crowd after I pass to see how long before they are cheering for someone else. Here, I didn't have to wait, the crowd said "Good job guys" so I knew someone was close and then I hear him and see him in my periphery. He glides by me like I'm standing still.

Miles 5,6,7 (6:00, 6:05, 5:58) The course goes out on some long, lonely country roads. There is absolutely nothing to distract me from the harsh realities of the accumulating lactic acid in my legs and the distress of my cardiovascular system . The pace is slowing down, the real suffering is beginning and I am starting to get worried.

I remember something else in mile 6. I have always believed there is a reason that I run. If you know me and my history it doesn't make sense. I have always felt that God gave me this and that He is with me when I run. I don't know why yet, maybe I never will but I truly feel like it is something that I am supposed to do. John 15 Jesus tells us that without Him we can do nothing but if we stay with Him whatever we ask shall be done. I pray to God to be with me and to help me and I acknowledge that I have become the runner I have because of Him.

Miles 8,9,10 -- (6:03, 6:17, 6:11)  This is a very tough stretch and I'm basically praying and repeating my mantra and bargaining. It goes something like this. God I can't do this, help! "all day, everyday", "1 more strong mile and you can shut it down and cruise in." I panic when I see my time in mile 9. I don't want to blow up. I don't want to go home disappointed. "Damn it! I knew this was going to happen." Then I think back on a recent training run and remember something very similar. I obstinately dug in and got back on pace. I do the same here.

Miles 11 and 12 -- (6:08, 6:07) With all of the "time in the bank" I know the goal is with in reach. The distance left is manageable in chunks and my hope is renewed. Right about mile 12 I take control of 2nd place. The guy who initially lead in the 2nd half of the first mile is crumbling. He had already surrendered 1st and now was unable to rally and cover when I passed him. This renewed me yet again. With a mile to go there was no way I was slowing down and giving him the opportunity to retake 2nd.

Last 1.1 in 6:50 (6:05/mile) Feeling thankful the end is just minutes away and knowing I was going to break 1:20 easily I start to feel elated. I make the turn and see the finish. A look at my watch tells me if I dig in here I could even break 1:19 and crush my previous PR and the day's goal. I dig in hard. My whole body is on fire and my stomach is revolting. It doesn't matter. It's literally less than a minute to the finish line. I cross the finish 2nd overall to a fist pumping 1:18:55.

All-in-all I was very pleased with the day and confident in my ability to meet my goal at the Monumental. The fitness is there and I have developed some reliable mental strategies to get through the rough patches, rally and to get back on track. I am disappointed in my lack of control early and hope to really focus on that at the Monumental.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

20th Annual Indianapolis Marathon

Last Saturday, 10/17/2015, I ran the Indianapolis Marathon as a training run in my build to the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I have run the half marathon at this race for the last several years and have used it as a tune-up race and final fitness gauge for what has always been my "A" marathon, the Monumental.

This year, the calendar proved a little challenging. This race is usually at the end of my first week of taper. So, I can use it to gauge where I truly am and I am rested enough to run a PR effort which usually results in an actual PR. The way it worked out this year though it was at the end of my biggest block of training both in quality and quantity. Leaving it a full 3 Saturday's out from the Monumental.

I have come to rely on my wife as a manager/coach and when I pointed this out to her she had a solution as usual. She suggested I run the full marathon as a final strength workout and find a half-marathon the next week to run as a tune-up race. 21 days is plenty long enough for me to recover from a marathon run below full race effort and a half-marathon the next week would still allow me to get the feedback I am looking for regarding fitness and race readiness. Bonus, I've never ran the full here before and this is the 20th and final running of the full. From here on out it will only be a half and 5k.

My plan was to go out and run somewhere around 3:10 to 3:15. Garrett, you remember him from my other race reports I'm sure,  and I had emailed a few times so I knew he was planning on running and looked forward as usual to meeting up with him. I also knew there was a good chance he was going to run this as a full out race and we probably wouldn't be running together. I was a little bummed about it but I also knew that Garrett's PR showed he had the potential to win the thing so I encouraged him to go for it.

Race morning we left the hotel a little later than we should have. Traffic was backed up in the parking areas so I jumped out of the car to head to the start area while Mary and Hannah parked. I arrived with about 1/2 hour to spare and found Garrett sitting beneath a tree all zen like. The man has no fear of the marathon, I'm sure of it. Always calm, cool, and collected before the race. We spent a few minutes catching up on each others running over the summer. He's had a good summer and I have no doubt he will have a good race. I see some other friends and exchange "good lucks" and head to the corral.

It's cold

As I said, I'm planning a nice steady strength effort today so I'm not real nervous, I just know I've got a nice long run in front of me. It's probably the coldest morning of the season so far and I keep on my long sleeve tee shirt to start the race. As usual at this race we start right on time. I'm out and the environment has me a little to fast, around 6:50/mile. I figure I'll settle into a slower pace over the next couple of miles and don't worry to much about it.

I strike up a conversation with a guy in the first mile. His name is Blake and He says he's under trained but hoping to be able to pull out the full distance today. I tell him my plans and we kind of agree to run together.

Mile 1 -- 6:46. My watch auto laps and I realize that I didn't shut the auto-lap off. I usually do manual laps in a marathon because the Garmin gets ahead of the mile markers and that will wear on you late in the race. Too late now though. The pace is way faster than planned but I was sure it was just the energy of the start and then loosing track of pace while settling in to running with someone else. I always loose track of pace when I've got company on a run. I tell myself to slow it down some.

Miles 2 - 3 -- (6:49, 7:08) are the first pass through Ft. Harrison State Park. The first significant hill in the race is during mile 3. So, I hadn't really got control of the pace like it looks like I might have. The effort is still harder than planned. So I'm still kind of trying to find my groove. I am starting to warm up and thinking about when I can ditch the long sleeve shirt.

Mile 4-7 -- (6:58, 6:51, 6:53) I ditch the long sleeve shirt at mile 4 at an aid station and see my wife, for the first time, just a minute later. I see a couple more spectators I know from CKRR here as well.

This is a good stretch of the race and goes by pretty quick. Back on the main road through Lawrence, 56th street, a couple of turns and on to the first turn around. Here you get to check out the competition. I didn't see Garrett so I'm guessing he's doing well and hoping I'll get an update later in the race. The pace is still faster than planned but I'm feeling pretty good so I decide to make peace with it and quit chiding myself for running too hard.

Miles 8-11 (6:54, 6:50,6:50,7:08) Back in Ft Harrison State Park. About mile 9 or so another runner joins for a minute and and then throws out a "I think I'll actually run a little faster" and starts to pull away. Instinctively, I want to show this guy what I've got and make him sorry he challenged me but I tell Blake that I've got to keep myself in check. I'm not running a PR today so any harder of an effort will only server to sabotage my goal at the Monumental.

There are several aid station through here and the running is pretty easy until mile 10.5 which offers the toughest hill in the race and that's reflected in the pace of 7:08. Once you crest the hill its just another couple of minutes until you are back out of the park and heading for the half/full split at mile 12.

Miles 12 and 13 (6:42, 6:37) I'm keeping an eye on the guy from mile 9 and even though I know better my pace quickens and I'm keeping him in sight and not letting the gap get too big. I just didn't realize it at the time. I see Hannah finishing off her mileage for the day and ask how she did in the 5k. She lets me know 25:30ish. That was pretty solid coming off an xc PR just about 12 hours ago. I also see my wife and toss her my sock hat as I am getting pretty comfortable with the temperature.

We split from the half-marathon here and head back into Ft Harrison State Park. I'll be honest I half expected to loose Blake here but he's a trooper and by heading into the park and not off to the half split he commits to the full distance. It's an out and back from here and the thing about an out and back is once you're out you've got to get back, so you might as well run.

Miles 14-17 -- (6:37, 6:39, 6:41) The path gets pretty narrow and I'm glad we are out in front. I wouldn't want to run here in a large pack. Somewhere in here we find out we are 14th and 15th in the full. I'm still keeping the guy from mile 9 in my sights and it shows in the pace. About right around mile 17 the gap completely closes and my instinct is to drop him. I get right beside him and chide him that it's no time to start to fade, we are almost done. As the words come out of my mouth I realize that I am racing this guy. I have a little talk with myself about how this isn't the goal race and all I came for was the distance. I back off and let him go as he seems to get a boost from my little pep talk. I'd love to see his splits because I think he took my advice and dug in.

Miles 18 -20 -- (6:47, 6:49, 6:51) Letting the adrenaline go and bringing the pace back down. I'm not racing today, I'm not! I see Garrett he's coming back from the turn around he's probably a mile and a half ahead of me and is running in second place. He looks strong and I yell some encouragement his way and tell him his position. I'm psyc'ed for him.

Blake is starting to really struggle at this point. His face is as red as can be and he sounds pretty miserable. I ask him how his last 20 mile run went and he says he had to walk a good portion of it. I think to myself, this guy is a beast. He hasn't made it through a 20 mile run in a good long while but he's keeping up with me an I'm running a pretty strong pace. Probably what a lot of coaches would call a steady state pace.

Miles 21, 22, 23 (7:06, 7:12, 7:20) Blake is starting to come undone and I try to slow the pace and help him survive. I'm trying to talk to him and get him out of the dark place I know he has to be in in his head. He refuses to stop or walk and again I see just raw determination. It's one thing to go out and run a good marathon when you've trained for it. But it is impressive to see someone soldier through a marathon they aren't trained for. I have admiration for both. The training it takes to run a strong marathon shows grit and determination and single mindedness that a person commits to for a long period of time. Running a marathon untrained or severely under-trained shows a quality of tough mindedness that is really beyond compare. About mile 22 someone tells us we are fighting for 10th. By mile 23 I'm running in front of him and keeping an eye trying to not drop him. But he is unraveling quickly.

Miles 24 -- 7:36 At some point in mile 24 I look back and Blake is no longer in sight. I spend the rest of the mile trying to let him catch up but to no avail.

Miles 25, 26 --(6:42, 6:27) With Blake having dropped far enough back that I couldn't locate him I decide to drop my pace and just get this thing finished. Just after leaving Ft Harrison State Park for the last time I pass another marathoner and take control of 8th place. As usual I hear Hannah before I see her right before the turn to the finishing stretch. She waiting for a high-five and I oblige. Coming down the stretch to the finish chute there are 4 half-marathoners that I can easily pick off. So what, they are 3 hour half-marathoners. Road kill is road kill and I've got to get them :)

All-in-all it was a great day. Great weather, a good solid long run, my marathon friend Garrett took 2nd overall and I made a new running friend and even under-trained he ran the full distance without stopping or walking. Looking over the data for the race I am very excited by the dang near perfect even split that I ran (1:30:37 for the first half and 1:30:57 for the second half) For a race where you aren't planning to PR I'm not sure you could ask for much more.

Garrett taking 2nd place. Good job Garrett!

Happy with a solid long run effort

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Monumental Marathon Training Weeks 3 and 4

I really just finished week 5 according to the plan with the week late start mentioned in the previous training update. About that plan, it went pretty much by the way side over the last couple of weeks due in large part to running Blister in the Sun Marathon on Sunday the 8/2/2015. More on that when I get to it.

As I eluded to in my last post, I have really been struggling with getting going in this cycle and I think a lot of it had to do with the vacation to California and then rushing and trying to cram workouts in to get caught up. In the future I think I would simply trust my fitness enough to know that I could have sacrificed that first week and maybe even the second week in order to not start out the cycle stressed and tired.

Enough with the psychology and on to the training.

Week 4 only had 1 real workout which was a 20 mile long run and 2 other "kinda" workouts with 14 and 12 mile medium long runs. No tempo or race pace workouts scheduled but I skipped the race pace part of a long run a week ago and that was eating at me pretty bad. I made up for that by adding the 8 miles at goal pace to 1 of the medium long runs. Also, I have been wanting to run more tempo and harder paces so I planned an interval workout that I ended up blowing up on. So this is how it looks on paper.

Total Runs -- 10
Total Time -- 10:30
Total Miles -- 86

Workouts -- 4

Tuesday 7/28/2015 Marathon paced run 8 miles at goal pace and 14 miles total. I felt good during this run and even better after. 1 small monkey off my back.

Thursday 7/29/2015 6x1 mile @ goal 10k pace (5:55). Totally blew up on this work out. 5:55, 6:15. At this point I called the workout and just went to get in the mileage. After about 10 minutes I decided to try again only this time limiting the intervals to 5 minutes and just running them hard by effort instead of a full mile at a particular pace. I ended up doing 3 more intervals for a total of an additional 15 minutes of work. The paces for the 5 minute segments were 6:03, 6:04, 6:07. I have no doubt that this workout was self-sabotaged.

Sunday 8/2/2015 Blister in the Sun Marathon
3:09:10 3rd place over all. Even though this was just a training and I could have run it harder, I still wouldn't have placed any better. The winner was a full 20 minutes in front of me and 2nd finished 15 minutes before i did. So, I am very glad I stuck to the game plan and just ran this as a strength workout. It was 60* at the start and 83* at the finish. About 1700 ft of elevation gain for a total of 3400 ft of vert. I honestly felt very strong throughout. I had allowed myself a 3:30 time limit. Very glad to not even come close to that.

Week 5. I spent most of this week recovering from the marathon. Monday morning was loads of fun. As far as workouts go, the week included a medium long run of 13 miles on Wednesday morning, followed by a 3 mile tempo on Wednesday night and a long run of 20 miles on Friday and a 5k on Saturday. Not bad for a week after a marathon. I expect some real strength gains from this week.

Week 5
Total Runs -- 11
Total Time -- 10:00
Total Miles -- 82

Wednesday 2 workouts
AM medium long run 12 miles @ 7:15
PM Attempted a 4 mile tempo but I only had 3 @ 6:14 in me

AM 20 mile Long Run @7:04 average. I wore my Newton Distance IIIs without socks. I really like these shoes they are very comfortable. The uppers feel like a pair of socks and so far going sock-less in them  has been no problem but I think 8 miles was the furthest distance before this run. I paid for it with some nice raw spots on the top of my foot that started around mile 13. I rerouted to get to my house sooner and 5.5 miles later I was in the house patching up my foot so that I could finish the remaining mile and a half without the torment of the raw spots.

Attempted a 4 mile easy run. I was completely out of gas and struggled to make it 3. It's been a long time since a 3 mile run was a struggle for me and it was humbling.

Saturday CAM 5k on an XC course. 20:25. Slow for a 5k even on trails. I was still feeling pretty bad to start this race. About half way through I came alive and started to feel very strong. I finished the race feeling good and was just happy the funk had lifted. I had a very nice 3 mile cool down with a couple of friends from CKRR and left the race for home reinvigorated.

So, that wraps up the last couple of weeks of training. I've been whining a lot this cycle, I know. I am in the middle of a recovery week though and I believe it is just what I needed because today for the first time in a while I am excited about running again. I am ready to get after it and nail some workouts in the next phase of the training cycle. My focus will be nailing the prescribed workouts and logging a lot of goal pace miles in preparation for a new marathon PR. Some secondary goals for the coming weeks are to get some consistency with core work and strides, both of which I have neglected for too long.

Cumulative Monumental 2015 Training
Total Runs -- 40
Total Time -- 40 hours 15 Minutes
Total Miles -- 332

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Monumental Marathon Training Weeks 1 and 2

It's marathon training season again. I went back and forth over the off season trying to decide on which training plan I would use this time around. I have always used the plans in Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfizinger. Because I get bored easily, I was tempted this time to go with Jack Daniel's "Final 12 Week" program found in "Daniel's Running Formula vol. 3." In the end I came back to Pete; "stick with what you know" Since it was by far my best marathon ever, I will be trying to replicate my build up from the last Monumental with the paces just a little quicker to help propel me to a new PR.

I got a late start with this cycle because we were on vacation in California the week I should have started. So I basically I planned to run the workouts from week 1 and 3 for the first 2 weeks. I faltered a bit because I had a hard time getting into the groove and getting my mind into the right place. It takes a lot of physical AND mental effort to train for a PR in the marathon.

Week 1 included a 9 mile run with 4 miles at lactate threshold (LT) followed the next day with a 12 mile run. The goal pace for LT runs is 6:08 and my splits were 6:06, 6:00, 6:02. Mile 4 was interrupted by stomach distress. I did a little over half a mile at 6:08 while trying to fight through it but it finally won and I had to stop to get it under control. I finished out the mile around goal pace but forgot to reset my watch so I don't have the specifics. It was 64* with 94% humidity for this run. Overall, I was well pleased with where I was at given the humidity and stomach problems.

The next day's medium long run (ML) went well with an average pace of 6:55. This was maybe just a bit too fast but hey, who's going to complain about that. I was happy to be able to produce that pace the day after a tempo run. The long run for the week was 17. I usually do my long runs on Friday's but I had trouble sleeping Thursday night so I slipped this to Saturday. I wanted to do some marathon pace (MP) work and extend the run to 20 miles but I wasn't really feeling it so I just put in the 17 miles and called it a day.

Week 1 stats
10 Runs
Total Miles 82
2 workouts (Tempo followed by ML and a LR)
Miles at or above MP 4

Week 2 was really week 3. At this point in training the most important workouts are the LT or "tempo" runs. So to get back on track I skipped week 2 and did week 3's LT followed up with another ML. This is a great combination that really helps to simulate the fatigue of a marathon while not requiring an undo amount of recovery. Week 3 ups the ante with another 9 mile run but with 5 miles at tempo pace and a 14 mile ML run the next day.

As I said, I have really been struggling mentally up to this point and the big workouts are the worst. I made this a little easier mentally by running a 4 mile tempo followed with 4 minute recovery jog and then the final mile of tempo. This allowed me to not stress and toss and turn all night before the workout and still get in the work. Again, my pace goal was 6:08. It was 72* and 88% humidity for this workout and I was a little slow with splits of  6:12, 6:12, 6:13, 6:12 and 6:09. Still I was satisfied with the work given the conditions. I ran the next mornings 14 mile ML an average pace of 7:15.

By this time the struggle is getting to be almost more than I can take and I have thought many times about just quitting. Just running for the health benefits and no longer "racing" marathons. Friday morning I was supposed to run 20 with 8 at MP. I was up and out the door by 4:00 AM but I couldn't get the thought of quitting out of my head. "I don't want to do this anymore!" and at mile 5.5 I did something I have never done. I bailed on a workout. I cut it and made a turn toward home. "Who needs this!?", "This is a hard life and I'm done with it!"

I couldn't help but feel like an abject failure. I quit on a workout. I made an excuse. I didn't finish the work. I was uneasy all day long. I made a decision to run the workout the next day. "I'm going to give it a shot.", "This is what I do, it's who I am,"

Saturday morning the alarm went off and I quit again! I just cannot get past this feeling of dread of running. I went back to bed and slept later than I have slept in a couple of years. When I got up I felt like a new man. Looking back I was so utterly exhausted, no wonder I could hardly bear the thought of running at all, let alone running 20 miles. But it was already getting hot and rather than run I decided to do my long run on Sunday, slipping it yet another day.

In the back of my head I was worried I would quit again Sunday morning. So with some encouragement from my wife I headed out around 10:30 AM for my long run.

It was hot. I ran way to fast to begin in the heat. The first 13 miles of the run were below a 7:00 minute pace which would be fine in 50* or 60* temps but it was 82* and sunny. In addition, I have never run a more broken up 20 mile run in my life. I had to make a bathroom break around mile 8, I stopped intentionally for water at home around mile 15. I was on call at work during this run and I got a text that something was wrong. Luckily I was only about a 1/4 mile from home so I stopped, went in my air conditioned house and spent about 10 minutes logging in to the network and correcting the problem. I was unable to rally after this last stop and just jogged out the last 4 miles finishing the run with an average moving pace of 7:07.

Week 2 stats
10 Runs
Total Miles 82
2 workouts (Tempo followed by ML and a LR)
Miles at or above MP 8 (5 tempo, 3 mile MP pickup at the end of a run)

I am feeling much better. The nagging voice telling me to quit has been silenced for the moment. The next couple of weeks will be interesting. I am running The Blister in the Sun Marathon this Sunday in Cookeville TN. Billed as a "A Stupid Hot Hilly Little Run in the Park" with a race director who says "I guarantee suck ass conditions and a fun time." Right now the forecast is 65*/90* with full sun and 80% humidity. "Suck ass conditions" indeed. The run will be a time-on-feet strength building run with no concern for pace or finishing time. My primary goal is to get the miles in and be able to resume regular training within a few days.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Finishing Off Big Abortion

Planned Parenthood is on the ropes again. We've had them here before and allowed them to duck, weave and bob their way around until the round was over. It's time to take the knockout punch. We have had politicians say they are going to take that big right hand cross before but they always end up just covering up at the first flailing Planned Parenthood does.

We have a bunch of republicans once again boasting that they will throw the knockout punch by making sure Planned Parenthood's tax payer funding dries up. This article is the latest example and I have a couple of things to say about it.

"The Kentucky Republican and presidential candidate released multiple statements Friday promising to use “all legislative vehicles” to “defeat and defund Planned Parenthood” next week."

First, the article indicates that Senator Rand Paul will make amendments defending Planned Parenthood to important senate bills that need to be passed. I say, go for it. Any and all means should be used to stop Planned Parenthood. He will be portrayed as not caring about the people the bills affect. He will be portrayed as a trouble maker and a pot stirrer. Both for holding up senate business and for wanting to defund Planned Parenthood. I have advocated defunding Planned Parenthood for as long as I can remember. I've heard a lot of reasons why we must continue to send them money. I don't care what you think, they kill babies, period. THEY KILL BABIES. Let that sink in.... I mean, really, Planned Parenthood kills babies. That's what they do.

Second, if you as a lawmaker in any political party are instrumental in stopping the murder or 3,000 babies every single day, you have my vote, now and forever. It is honestly the only issue worth talking about. As long as we kill innocent people for any reason what-so-ever, there is nothing else that can help us and there sure the hell isn't anything that will hurt us more.

3rd if you as a lawmaker talk big and then crumble under the pressure Big Abortion WILL bring to bear, you have my scorn, now and forever. Don't crumble, these are defenseless innocents being murdered and they need your help.

Senator Rand, I will be watching and rooting for you to stand tall, brush off the flailing of your opponent and throw that big right cross and if you  do I will be on my feet cheering for you as the referee calls the 10 count.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Summer Racing Season

There is no off season for a runner who wants to hang on to hard gained fitness. I just finished up my spring marathon season with my goal race at the Carmel Marathon on April 18th, 2015. It was a long, tough cycle and I was wore out by the end. I ran 90/100 mile weeks and suffered 2 minor injuries. I didn't blog much about it because, honestly, I was wore out from the miles I was putting in.

That being the case let this serve as not only an introduction to my post about my summer plans but also a training wrap up and race report for the 2015 Carmel marathon. It was a hot day for running and as a result I ran about 1 minute and 40 seconds slower than my goal. I am satisfied with the performance knowing that I put in the required work but the goal was submarined by the heat. I'll look at it as an investment toward the fall 2015 season.

Now that that is out of the way I could be entering the off season, right? But I know how hard it is to get to a high level of fitness and I am not willing to let that go. I also know I need a break from the 90/100 mile weeks of running required for marathon training. So I am entering a phase of speed development. I will be working on bringing my 5k time down by increasing my top end speed. As such my mileage will drop to around 70 miles a week but the intensity of running will go way up. I'll be running a lot more of those miles at a much faster pace.

I began this phase this morning with a 4 mile race I used for a bench mark.I haven't raced short and fast for a while so my legs have lost a little turn over, my CV system has lost a little power and my mind has lost a little toughness. As a result this morning's race, at 24:31, was about 35 seconds slower than my 4 mile PR.

I'll have plenty of chances to work this pace down since I'll also be racing a lot more. A great thing about the shorter "long distance" races, the Mile, 5k, and 10ks is that you can race them much more frequently. After the Carmel marathon I needed 2 weeks of very easy running to recover but with the shorter distance races I can race on Saturday and resume hard training again on Monday and race again in a week or 2.

Racing the shorter distances is a skill as much as it is anything. It takes practice and experience to endure the suffering required to run a fast 5k. It also takes practice and experience to find out just how far you can push you legs, mind and heart before you go over the line and tank your race.

To that end, I will be racing a lot of shorter races over the summer solely for the experience. In these races I will push hard and become familiar with the pain of racing and work on finding that line so I can walk right up to it but not cross it. I will also run 3 races that I will consider goal races to set my PRs in.

I have a mile race targeted on June 4th, the Monumental Mile, where I am hoping to go 5:40 or quicker. I will also be selecting a big 5k and 10k to target for PRs in late July or early August before I shift my attention back to the marathon for the Fall racing season.

I am looking forward to reacquainting myself with that special kind of suffering found in training for and racing the shorter distance races and reveling in the pure satisfaction of the big PRs that will result.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Fruit of Prayer: Encouragement of Another

St Jerome said "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." I can identify with St Jerome on a few different points, today this one is really jumping out at me. One of the best things I have done to make God more a part of my daily life is reading the Bible. Frankly, most times as I sit there reading, I don't feel any different than when I am reading a training manual, technical document, or anything else. I am just reading. But I was reminded today that God is still working and still present in that time.

This morning, Last night I learned that someone I care deeply about is in a funk. She has worked hard toward a couple of goals and made significant progress but she is just having a hard time right now. I didn't really know what to say to her.

This morning, on waking I had a verse from the Gospel of John running through my head. I didn't immediately make the connection but as I was out running this morning it dawned on me. She is in a funk and thinks she is doomed to be average despite her hard work but I know better and because I have made the decision to read and study the bible even when I am not immediately rewarded with a profound spiritual experience. I woke up this morning with the exact verse from scripture that I hoped would make her understand how far above average she is.

"But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God." John 1:12-13
I'm sorry but a child of God cannot be average in anyway.

While I may not always, or even usually, feel a profound sense of spirituality while I am reading the Bible, I feel very close to God this morning knowing that my prayers in the past(reading the Bible is praying, btw) may bare some fruit today in the form of helping and encouraging another through a rough patch. Had I never made the decision and commitment to read the Bible, or if I had not continued even though it felt no different that reading anything else, I could have not woken up this morning knowing what to say to someone who was in need of encouragement.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Indiana's RFRA: Who knew Pharaoh Ruled Here?

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Indiana’s RFRA that passed last week. The main subject of controversy is being beat to death and I think most people have made up their minds so I won't try to convince you one way or the other except to say that for myself after reading the bill’s synopsis and listening to the people who have actually read the bill it doesn't sound like it legalizes discrimination. Instead it attempts to protect small business owners from being forced into participating in something they find objectionable on the grounds of their faith.

That being said, I’m not a lawyer or politician and I won’t speak from the perspective of an expert. I’ll say this, I don’t believe that there are more than a small handful of people in the entire state, let alone the elected government, that would actually like to see discrimination legalized so I don’t believe that there is a statehouse full of these evil little people who would advocate treating anyone in a discriminatory way.

What I see as the real problem with Indiana's RFRA is this, pulled from the bill's official digest, "Prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the governmental entity can demonstrate that the burden: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest." Think about that for a minute. What this is saying is that at some point the government's interest might conflict with God's and when that happens the government has a way to win. So my real problem with this bill is that the government is still placing itself above God. 

Reading the Book of Exodus we find a Pharaoh who thought that he had a compelling reason to deny the Israelites the freedom to go a “3 day’s journey into the wilderness” to exercise their faith and we know how that turned out for the Egyptians.

If we believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; If we believe in the Living God who brought the Israelites out of Egypt; If we believe in the God who came to us in the flesh in Jesus Christ, then we can accept nothing less than the freedom to fully exercise our faith, anything less is merely our government acting with the same hardness of heart that plagued Pharaoh. In other words, the real problem with RFRA is that the bill reaffirms that, Indiana and America, like Pharaoh of the Book of Exodus, places itself above God. A compelling reason…… indeed.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Clearwater Distance Classic 50k Race Report

Race Stats
Date 1/18/2015 (7:05 AM)
Gun Time: 3:40:50
Chip Time: 3:40:45
Overall 1/136
Male 1/63

For Christmas this year I received a trip to Florida and entry into the Clearwater Distance Classic 50k from my wife and daughters. I had been looking for a couple of 50ks to include as extra-long long runs in my training for the Carmel Marathon this year. In the past I have just done these as self-supported runs but that is a very daunting way to go about it. I figured with a fully supported race and plenty of other runners it wouldn't be such a mental task.

My wife and I left for Florida on Thursday afternoon. We flew out of Indianapolis and into Tampa Bay. It was great to get away from the single digit temperatures for a few days. The race wasn't until Sunday so the plan was to spend a few nights at our favorite Disney resort and then drive down to Clearwater on Saturday Morning and check into our hotel for a couple of nights on the beach.

I slept remarkably well Saturday night and woke up around 5:00 AM to eat breakfast and get ready for the race. My nutrition and hydration plan for the day included a cliff bar and 2 bananas plus a cup of coffee as soon as I woke up and 5 gels during the race drinking water and gatorade as indicated by thirst and limited enough to keep it from sloshing in my stomach. My wife returned sweaty and out of breath after her run with this advice. "It's humid, drink plenty." With that I decided to drink at most aid stations.

We got to the race start with plenty of time to spare and after a few minutes my wife left to get outside of the course with the car so that she could drive and cheer at as many spots as possible. It was just a little chilly so I headed over to find groups of people to stand in. The race start time was 7:05 and the corrals began filling up just before 7:00. We had the national anthem and started pretty much on time.

There were about 2000 runners spread across the 5 different events at this race. I lined up near the front but didn't worry to much about where I was. This was just a long training run and my pacing strategy was to be super conservative and run around 8:00 to 8:15 miles. At least that is what I kept telling myself and my wife. But somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I would end up racing or at least there was the real possibility of that so I didn't want to have a chip time to different from gun time.

The race started in downtown Clearwater at Coachman park and the first mile ended at the top the bridge over Clearwater Bay. This was just 1 of several bridge/overpass crossings that presented themselves as hills that were steep but relatively short. The first half of the race was along Gulf Boulevard and was very scenic including views of the Gulf of Mexico and some very nice real estate.

The bridge over Clearwater Bay

Around mile 4 or 5 I heard a runner behind me call out "Go Patriots!" presumably in response to a spectator wearing Patriots gear. this race was on January 18th 2015 the day the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots were meeting for the AFC Championship game. I looked back and asked him if he was looking for a fight. I'm not a huge Colts fan but being from Indiana and the particular situation I thought it would be a short diversion in a long race to talk a little football. Jason, the Patriots fan, was running the marathon.

We had a nice conversation mostly about football and running. Jason asked me about my fueling strategy and I realized I had forgotten to take a gel. I had planned on taking them every six miles or so and we were closing in on mile 8. No aid stations in sight for a drink so I decided to hold off a few minutes longer.

Around mile 8 I found myself in need of a porta-pot and told Jason I would catch back up. I never could get comfortable running 8 minute miles but we were running what felt like an easy pace around 7:20-7:30 and felt I could drop the pace for a while and catch back up with him.

This motivated me to not loose any time because of my stop. It took me about a mile and a half of running around 6:30 but I finally caught him at around mile 9.5. He was surprised but I wasn't. During my sprint my wife drove up behind me and offered me a cookie. One thing I like about smaller races like this is that the spectator can get so close. I figured I had a long way to go and the cookie would be good fuel so I took it.

Jason and me at about mile 10.
Jason and I ran together the rest of the way until the marathon and 50k split at around mile 16. When I went off into the 50k extension I asked the court marshal my place. He didn't quite seem to understand why but told me "3rd or 4th I think." Luckily a bike medic came along a few minutes later and reported that "There are 2 runners about a 1/2 mile ahead of you."

I've been running very high mileage since my last marathon in November trying to stay above 75 miles a week. This 50k was closing the books on a block of 2 100 mile weeks and I had just had 2 very low mileage/ very high calorie days leading up to the race. All of this combined put me in a position to feel like I was just getting warmed up at this point. Knowing that there were only 2 ahead of me and that the gap was so small I knew that the race was on and this had ceased to be a training run. I dropped my pace down to around 6:40 and got to work.

By mile 18 I had the number 2 runner in my sights and could see that he was struggling. I just kept working and caught him right after the turn around. My focus and drive intensified. Next I saw the lead runner and watched the gap close. I had caught and passed him a little after mile 20. I was in the lead and feeling strong. I was fully aware of the opportunity at hand, that I could actually win the first 50k I ever ran and there was no way was I giving up the lead. Head down, get to work!

The back half of the race took us away from the spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico and away from the high end real estate. We were running along the Pinnellas County Trail. Jason, who is from the area, encouraged me to take in the great views on the front half because there was nothing pretty about the trail we would finish on. He was right except for one thing, I saw my wife several times on the trail and she is always adds an element of beauty (too sappy? too bad, it's my report).

I was now running with what was probably 3:50-4:10 marathoners so I was passing runners quickly. I heard several exclamations and shouts of encouragement as I would pass these runners and they would see my strong pace and my bib indicating that I was running the ultra. This served to fuel me even more and made the last 9 miles really fly by. I saw my wife again around mile 22 and she asked if I needed anything. I said I didn't need anything but to hang on for the next 9 miles. At each mile I just kept thinking run this mile strong and pad the lead just in case it all falls apart. But at the end of each mile I still felt strong. Hanging on wasn't going to be a problem.

The last couple of miles we came off of the trail and were on city streets. I started recognizing things from the driving around we had done the day before. I knew the end was near and felt pretty confident that the victory was in hand. Rather than feeling like a shell of a man after having run 29 miles already with 2 left to go I was full of excitement and confidence coming down this final stretch.

Crossing the finish line knowing I had secured an actual win was a surreal feeling. I had never dared to say it out loud but I had a feeling I could win this race when I opened my gift on Christmas morning and now I had actually done it.  I crossed the timing mat, paused the watch, dropped to my knees in praise to God and made the sign of the Cross closing out the run and victory offered up as a prayer.
Crossing the finish line and securing the victory!
This race has confirmed for me the high mileage approach to training that I have been taking. It has also solidified my belief that I am built for longer distances. I have avoided racing ultras for a couple of years to focus on running the marathon faster. I have been planning to continue focusing on marathons until the PRs dry up and then shifting to the longer distance races but this experience is making me reconsider that approach. I ran the first half of this race conservatively and the last half I raced and I was 100% recovered after just a couple of days.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

March for Life 2015: Thoughts and Regrets at the End of the Day.

I spent most of today, like every other day, ignoring the abortion problem and today I also ignored the march for life. I couldn't be bothered. then I saw the number 1,322,371,875 innocents slaughtered since the evil that is referred to as "Roe vs Wade." Abortion is the most profound evil and honestly, it shouldn't take a number of that magnitude to get and hold my attention. But like most of America I have fallen into a stupor. Today, enough is enough! America immolates its infants not to Moloch but to the American, or the Western World's, god of convenience and comfort.

Why does nobody care enough for them to put a stop to it? We are ripping human beings apart, literally limb from limb or bathing them in a chemical fire because they don't fit our "life plan", because we are "scared", Because we don't like how they were conceived or because we can't "afford" them.

You see infants in a mother's womb are silent, they are hidden from our eyes, they are defenseless. Because of all of this they are easily forgotten. Because of this it is easy to turn our eyes. Because of this it is easy to put them aside and move on about our day, about our lives. Because of this it is easy to justify and excuse. But they are humans anyway, so no excuse or justification can stand.

IT IS WRONG! Terribly Wrong! There is no way around it I have let them down and deserve their scorn and unless you are 1 of very few who have dedicated their life to stopping this atrocity you to have let them down and deserve their scorn. The ‪#‎marchforlife‬ can't be the end of it for us. It must be the beginning.

I don't know what I will do tomorrow about abortion but I know I won't ignore it. I only pray that I find the will to fight this atrocity with my whole being until it is a history that we are ashamed of.