Sunday, August 31, 2008

Week Nineteen: Saturday

Please Note: Saturday was on Sunday

I am glad that I waited to write up this week’s run until later in the day. Otherwise, it would have read something like “Why the F am I doing this to myself? I am miserable and any success I have is a fluke. I am not going to finish this stupid thing and it will all be a colossal waste of time.”

Now that I have had some time to recover, I can look at today a little more positively and be somewhat satisfied with today.

Brother of Fat Guy and I took off at 8 am and were doing pretty well. I started checking my watch around mile 10 and started to get discouraged because we were not on pace to do 13.1 in 2 hours 17 minutes, which didn’t make sense to me. It also started to get hot as we were almost two hours into the run. I finally crapped out between mile 10 and 11 and then was kind of spotty until between 12 and 13 when we made it to my house for Gatorade. Then we walked for ¾ miles, ran a half mile and then walked the rest of the 4 miles to make 18. I was just beat and could not muster up the strength to run any more. I decided that this would be a good time to gauge how fast I walk at the end of a long run to determine how much time I would have if I needed to walk the rest of the marathon. Frankly, after 2 miles walking, I would have liked to do a walk/run because I was sore, my feet hurt, and I wanted to be at home.

The end result with all the walking was 18 miles in 3 hours 58 minutes. This was a horrible backslide from the week before. My hope is that this disappointment will prompt a decent performance in the 20 mile run I am doing in White Bear Lake on Saturday. It will be my second organized run and I am hoping that I can make a better showing than today.

Oh, and it took an hour and seven minutes to walk 4 miles. I feel that if I can run 20 miles in 4 hours, if I have to walk the rest I should be able to finish in the 6 hour 15 minute time limit.

The upside of all this is that my recovery time was like a fifth of the time that it was the weekend before. I worried that I would get nothing done today and not be able to move. We actually took the wee one to Minnehaha Falls and walked around and it was no problem. Hell, I am going to go to the fair tomorrow morning. I am not sure if this is because of the walking at the end or that my body is more accustomed to the long distances. My guess is a little of both.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Week Nineteen: Thursday

Thursday run on Friday edition.

Bad day today. Got off work early and went out at 2 o’clock. It was hot which is going to be my biggest nemesis. I am really going to have to start running in the heat so if it is really hot on the day of the marathon I don’t just collapse.

I only did 4 and ¼ miles and I walked a good hunk of it. It only took me 48 minutes though. I really should have done the 8 miles. Since I am going to do 18 on Sunday I am going to forgive myself. I also mentally used the excuse that all I had eaten all day were 2 yogurts. Plus I had to go to the bathroom after 2 miles and that messes things up. Plus my iPod earphones failed on me. Plus it was hard running while making up excuses as to why I should stop running.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Week Nineteen: Wednesday

It's gettin', it's gettin', it's gettin' , kinda hectic.

I am going to run Wednesday Friday, skip Thursday and do 18 miles on Sunday. This is to prepare myself for an organized 20 mile. Feet don't fail me now.

Instead of my normal self involved drivel, enjoy the videos at:

They are very funny and have a good message; Love thy neighbor even if they hate you.

Plus they are created by the folks that I work with/for. So that makes them awesomer.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Week Nineteen: Monday

Brother of Fat Guy and I hit the road at about 8:30 to do 5 miles and I thought that if I had him with me that I would not be as terrified running through those woods as I was last time. I was very wrong. I start to imagine that the worst part of all the horror movies that I love so dearly are all going to transpire at once. This includes the scene in Friday the 13th with Kevin Bacon and since my brother is the only other person with me, the image is doubly horrifying.

It wasn't a great run, but any run is better than no run. At about the 2 ¼ mark my legs started to get a little weird and I had to go potty. I went potty and we walked for 10 minutes, or about a half mile, and then ran the rest of the route. I wish I wouldn’t have had to walk, but the running long distances after stopping is always encouraging. We finished in 59 minutes. This was roughly our half marathon pace.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Week Eighteen: Saturday

Put on a pot of coffee, put some cough syrup on the kid’s pacifier and take your phone off the hook. I had an eventful Saturday.

Due to my poor showing last weekend and during this week, I was very motivated to run 16 miles on Saturday. I tried to prepare for this run using some of the tips I have picked up. I ate a spaghetti dinner the night before, half hour before the run I ate a Clif bar, and super hydrated myself with water and Gatorade. I deicided that I would run my 4 mile route 3 times and then run 4 miles on a connected trail to mix things up as well as make it convenient to stop by the house to grab some Gatorade. I started a little after 8 am.

Mile 1: I needed to finish listening to the Bill Simmons podcast, the B.S. Report. I had 17 minutes left so I figured this would carry me into mile 2. I have mentioned in the past how podcasts can actually be a determent because the pace of someone talking usually isn’t a good running pace. However, I figured that I had a long run and using the music crutch right away would make it useless down the stretch.

Mile 3: Switched to listening to This American Life podcast. This pacing is usually even worse, but the shows are an hour and it means not f’ing with my Ipod constantly. The pants I am wearing have no pockets. They only have a pouch that fist the Ipod perfectly. However, it requires me digging in my pants to get the thing out. I worry that someone is going to call the cops on me one of these days.

Anywho, I was making my way between mile 3 and 4 and I saw a couple bicyclists really Lancin’ it up. Not that out of the ordinary. About a minute later, as I rounded a corner, I had 25 bikers coming at me. Now, if you have read this blog at all you would be aware that I have been pretty critical of bicyclists. So when I see a group of 25 coming at me, my mind goes to two things: the movie Better Off Dead, and that they are coming to silence me. My life flashed before my eyes. However, my mind has confused my life with the life of characters on Television. So I remembered the time that I played Neptune, King of the Sea, the time I got addicted to my sister’s friends weight loss medication, the time that my friend that left for a summer and came back wearing a cowboy hat shot himself playing with a gun, and the time that I shook hands with Wayne Newton (Wait, that one was real).

Despite my fear, they passed me with no incident. Once I reached the beach I realized that they were part of a triathlon.

Miles 4 – 12. I ended up running my 4 mile route 3 times. I would think that anyone who happened to drive by me three times was wondering why the hell I was running the same stretch of road over and over again. I would ask them why they were driving it over and over again.

Mile 12 – 13 I ran back to the house because I had to use the bathroom and get some fluid, as I had been at it for almost 2 hours with no hydration. I ran into the house, Mrs. Fat Guy grabbed me a Gatorade and a Gel while I was in the bathroom, and I ran back to the trail. It was a pretty seamless transition.

This was also the time when I ran into a new trail dweller that I hadn’t even thought of. A dude, wearing a helmet and a backpack, on a unicycle. The reason I reference the backpack and helmet is because it looked like this dude was going on a distance ride.

Now, ever since 5th grade when Kit Ward came cruisin’ up to Rusty Walbon’s house on a unicycle I have been fascinated by unicycles. Do I think they are cool? Hell no. They are like the dorkiest thing I can think of. However, when I have tired to ride one, I have always failed. This makes me want to master them all the more. Plus I can juggle so I would be a couple balloon animals away from being qualified for clowndom.

Before this sighting I thought that I had seen everything out there. But my guess is that the trail is hiding some more characters from me.

Mile 13.11 – At the time I was only guessing that I was at the 13.2 mark but I checked my distances after the fact and it turned out I was dead on. I ran 13.11 miles in 2 hours and 17 minutes. That is a half marathon in 16 minutes faster than 2 weeks ago. Not only did I finish it faster, I did not stop to walk at all. The only time I stopped was to go to the bathroom.

Mile 13.2-16 – This is where stuff gets a little hazy. I was starting to lose it a little At one point I was singing out loud along to the music I was listening to if that is any indication of my mental state at this point. Oh, and just so you know, Evan Dando sings “Rockin’ Stroll” 1000x times better than I do. . I think that I walked for about a half mile (13.5-14) and then ran and walked the remainder of the run.

During miles 15-16 tried a strategy that my friend Vik emailed me a couple weeks ago. He knew people that would run 2 minutes and then walk 1. This was a great strategy not only for keeping myself going when I am out of energy, but also as a way to get going again. Going from walk to run again is difficult. But if you know that you can stop in two minutes you can get through it. Then you extend the running time a little. Using this mentality, I was able to not only run the last half mile but for the last 1/10th mile I kicked it into high gear. When I finished, if there wouldn’t have been some people 30 feet behind me I would have dropped to my knees and ripped off my shirt.

I like to walk after the run is done to stretch out, but at this point I was ¾ miles away and my legs were in very bad shape. I actually started jogging back home towards the end because it felt better than walking.

My legs felt like I had been worked over with a bat. I laid in bed most of the day Saturday. I did take a bath to try and soothe my legs. It is Sunday and while I have not fully recovered, I feel pretty good.

The time for 16 miles, you ask? 2 hours 50 minutes. Oh, and when I double checked the route, it was actually 16.2 miles. So I added 3 miles and only 17 minutes. This was a very satisfying run and has gotten me motivated to make sure that I am not skipping the shorter runs.

Week Eighteen: Thursday

So, Mrs. Fat Guy and Veronica were still out of town. Again, intended to run in morning. If I was drinking, then my excuse for not running would have been an extended Happy Hour. Instead, I had 3 Non alcoholic beers. Fun.

If you read my last post in regards to running at night you would understand my excuse for not running after Happy Hour.

Fun Fact: There is a kissing room at the Local downtown. I witnessed a mother showing her 6 year old daughter the room. My guess is a 6 year old is too young to understand the depravity that must go on in there at around bar time.

Week Eighteen: Wednesday

Mrs. Fat Guy and Veronica are out of town. I had to represent the family at Baptism class at 7:30. I got home at 6 which made it very difficult to run 8 miles and shower. So I didn’t. I really intended to run in the morning but when Mrs. Fat Guy is not at home I have a really hard time waking up in the morning.

If you read the post that deals with running at night you would understand my excuse for not running after the meeting.

Fun Fact: Anyone can baptize a child in an emergency situation. All you have to do is pour water on the child’s forehead and say “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” Baptize Away!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Week Eighteen: Monday

I was still up north on Monday, so it was a lot like Saturday except I gave up after 13 minutes and then kinda half-assed it by running and walking. Not a very proud day for me. I really just kept thinking that I am on vacation, I have a 3 and a half hour drive in front of me and that it is hot. My hope is that taking it easy will have helped my body recover from the half. But then I figure I have to do 16 this weekend and that is going to be brutal.

Plus, something interesting has to happen so I can actually write something entertaining instead of this boring stuff.

Week Seventeen: Saturday

I spent Saturday up north 20 miles south of Grand Rapids. I was supposed to run 16 miles, and when I originally cooked up this scheme I had plans to run from Hill City to Grand Rapids. Although that sounds cool, when it came right down to it I decided that I was on vacation and that I would only run a couple miles. So I ran a couple miles on Sunday morning. I don’t know the exact distance but I ran 25 minutes. I had hoped the fresh north woods air would motivate me to run longer. Instead I wanted to get back into air conditioning because it was hotter than hell.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Week Seventeen: Thursday

I was taking care of MABIW (Most adorable baby in world) Thursday so I couldn’t run. Well, I could’ve at 10 pm when Mrs. Fat Guy got home, but if you read the previous post you know why I didn’t do that. I am going to have to owe the program 4 miles.

Week Seventeen: Wednesday

Wednesday was a seven miler. I was trying to come up with excuses not to run, but in the end my poor performance on Monday made me realize that it was necessary. I took off at 8:30, which turned out to be the best/worst idea I have ever had.

It had rained and was still very overcast when I started, so it got very dark very quickly. My original plan was to run in the park only and avoid running along the road because it was dark and I was wearing a black shirt. Maybe the navy blue pants would have been bright enough to alert a car. Somehow I doubt it.

Well, when I got to the park it was a ghost town. There was one pickup truck that left as soon as I ran by it. I thought they were going to either kill or mock me. I lucked out and they did neither.

Then I had to run through the woods. A little background; I am pretty sure that a bunch of years ago they found a headless woman dumped in there, and I remember at least one other dude who died back in there. Plus there have been a roving band of teenagers beating people with baseball bats in St. Paul. All of this made me super paranoid and convinced that I was finally going to get serial killed.

This is important because at this point I was at the two mile mark and not only was I not going to walk, I was running pretty fast. I wanted to get the hell out of there. I also decided that I would rather get hit by a car than batted or stabbed so I took the route along the road the rest of the way. Since I am writing this, you can guess that I made it out alive….or did I? The only other moment that was touchy was when my super Ipod mix brought up “Wild Boys” by Duran Duran and the lyric: “There’s Murder (rder,rder,rder) by the roadside” came up and I thought I was going to get killed on Long Lake Road.

In the end, I ran the entire seven miles. I was extremely pleased with myself. It took me 1 hour 14 minutes. Somewhere between a 10 and 11 minute mile. I really tried to pace myself better and it paid off.

Here’s the payoff for the above rambling. Weight time! When we last left our hero, he hadn’t run for two weeks and weighed in at 224 lbs.

211 lbs. Ladies and Gents. That is 13 lbs for the math challenged. That is a lot of weight, but the most important thing is that it sends me into a whole new world; the world of Overweightness. At 181-214 lbs and under I am obese, and can now classify myself as simply overweight. This means that when the local news does their weekly story on how fat Americans are, they will have to subtract one from the statistics and when they roll the stock footage of large people from the neck down, guts hanging out of shirts and large backsides, if they show me I will sue their asses.

Granted, I still have a ways to go. I am concerned some of this is because of that diet that I quit the next 30 isn’t going to come off so quickly. I am really going to keep at the eating healthy, but this running makes you hungry.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Week Seventeen: Monday

Not sure if it was the sore legs or the lack of Brother of Fat guy, but Monday wasn’t great. Went out around 7 and it was overcast but a little humid. Ran 8 minutes and gave up and walked for 2. Ran 10 minutes then walked 10. Then ran the last 15 minutes for a total of 4 miles in 45 minutes. May have also been a big meal only and hour before running. I figured four miles would be a breeze. The fact that I did it in 45 minutes makes it obvious that I am running way faster than 10 minute miles and that is why I am getting worn out. I need to figure out how to pace myself better.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Week Sixteen: Saturday

The reaction I get from most people when I mention that I am doing this is “Why don’t you start with a half marathon?”

Well, I did a half marathon. Now I am gonna’ do a marathon.

I really did not know what to expect for an organized race. I had only run with one other person so I had no idea how I would respond to running in a large group. I also had decided to use some gels, which are essentially packets of nutrients and carbs that are the consistency of frosting.

Brother of Fat Guy and I got to Hudson, WI at a little before 7 am. We already had our numbers with us so we jumped on one of the school busses that were there to bring us from Hudson to Stillwater. We sat in the back, primarily because we are trouble making badasses, and had a nice conversation with a woman who had run Grandma’s and a half in St. Cloud earlier this summer. When I mentioned that I was training for the TCM, she said good luck in a non condescending manner. I keep waiting for these runner types to look down on me because they are so cool and wise about running but so far I have not been ridiculed.

We got to a local park that was serving as a starting line and waited in line with every single other runner for the bathroom. One guy was taking so long I was convinced he was doping but I cannot verify. I didn’t see a needle in the bathroom at least. The race started at 8 and we lined up near the back because I didn’t really think that I wanted to deal with 3 minutes of people running by me annoyed.

We started out what I thought was our normal pace. We spent a good portion of the first 2 miles behind a couple who didn’t know each other who agreed to run together. Since they didn’t know each other, we got to hear a little bit about there lives. I kind of liked this because I did not have an ipod. Since I am preparing for the TCM and you can’t have one on that run I wanted to prepare myself. I felt like the people with ipods were cheating and therefore I decree that I officially beat all of them. If I had music to listen to I argue that when I was going to stop I could pick a song that I simply had to run to.

On that note, we ran about 5.5 miles before I had to walk. There was a water stop every 2 miles and we walked to the water stop and then started running again. Unfortunately, this is where my ability to remember the pacing gets hazy. I tried to run, and then walk, then run, and then walk. It got harder as time went of course. I kept trying to not focus on the miles and use other runners as a pace. We would run in front of someone and then walk until they were ahead of us. My guess is that they were really annoyed by this strategy. But I need so frame of reference since I was not familiar with the course so I had not idea where the mile markers were. I also had forgotten my watch. I feel like this is a good thing because not knowing made me think that I was doing poorly all race.

We stepped it up for the last half mile and ended up finishing in 2 hours 33 minutes. That was 639 out of 685 runners. I was 125 out of 129 in my age bracket. I ran an 11:41 mile.

I didn’t exactly take the running world by storm, but here are the upsides:

I finished

Last Saturday I ran 12 miles in 2 hours 33 minutes. I added one mile with zero time in one week.

This race has made me aware of the importance of pacing. Since I had no watch I had no idea what was going on with our pacing. This lead to us running fast miles early and not being able to maintain. I also need to work on a ritual for the morning run.

All in all a very rewarding experience. I got a shirt.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Week Sixteen: Thursday

I didn’t run on Thursday. I am really trying to make sure that I can get though this Half without incident. I didn’t want to strain myself so I fell on my face during the race. Plus Brother of Fat Guy couldn’t get there until 9:15 and I didn’t want to be out that late. Plus I wanted to spend some time with the family. Plus I can do whatever I want and I don’t have to justify it to you people.

One of the benefits of working at an advertising agency is having a vast magazine library at your disposal. I used this resource to read Runners World this month, which was where I learned that I had better hydrate and carb-load or I am screwed. I felt really funny reading it on the bus looking the way I do. I thought the woman sitting next to me would be less perplexed if she saw me reading Teen Beat. Actually, I am kind of curious whether or not the Jonas Brothers are “Too Cute!” of if they have graduated to “So Hot!” status. Is “Hot” too racy for Teen Beat? These are questions that need to be answered.

I also decided that I had better grab a Bicycling magazine as well. Why, Fat Guy, you ask? Well, l let me tell you. It is very important to know your enemy. By reading Bicycling magazine I can get into the heads of all those lil’ Lances out there. I also wanted to make sure that they did not have articles calling for my head. I am a very powerful force in the Northwest New Brighton running community and I have no doubt they would silence me to guarantee that their suckiness is not spoken of. However, I will not be intimidated by the threats against me that I have made up.

I was also a little disappointed in the lack of coverage of tandem bicycles. Or the bicycles with a giant front wheel. I am going to give Bicycling Magazine a pass on this and assume that there are separate publications for these types of bikes.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Week Sixteen: Wednesday

I have been doing some research now that I am running for longer and longer runs. I also wanted to make sure that I was prepared for the race on Saturday. Everything I read made me realize that a low carb diet might be a really dumb idea right now and I am quitting. I am still going to cut all the bad carbs out, but I am not going to be militant about what I eat as long as it is healthy. I will still work out, just not on weeks when I am in an organize race. This is because I do not want to fall over dead or not be able to finish because my body gives out.

Now that I officially can reasonably consume carbs I drank a sports drink before I ran Wednesday and it may be the change that I needed. Brother of Fat Guy and I went 6 miles in 1 hour and 5 minutes. We did not stop. I actually think that I could have kept going. I joked about running another 4 when we were almost done and he called my bluff and said yes. I want to stick with the program and not overdo it so we stopped.

I am picking up my race packet tonight along with a bunch of garbage that I have been reading about that I am told that I will need. This little hobby is going to end up costing me a small fortune. Watch for the running $ total (that is a non-pun pun. Cool.) as soon as I get enough energy to post it.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Week Sixteen: Monday

It was a four mile day and I was going to have to do it solo due to brother of Fat Guy’s prior engagements.

It had been a while since I had run alone and I was really looking forward to seeing if I could maintain all by myself. Not only did I, I finished the 4 miles in 43 minutes. That is less than an 11 minute mile for the math challenged out there.

In preparation for the Gopher to Badger Half Marathon on Saturday I have been reading running forums and the like. The one thing that I really hadn’t taken into consideration is hydrating myself during long runs. On the 11 and 12 mile runs I have done I have maybe stopped at a drinking fountain at the park but that is it. Turns out that may not be enough. I am going to try and start being better about this and getting used to drinking while on the run. I realize screwing with my routine may not be the best idea during the Half, but I would argue that if my body goes all screwy then at least there will be people around to point at me and laugh.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Week Fifteen: Saturday

After not posting on Saturday I had you worried, didn’t I?

Brother of Fat Guy and I hit the road at a little after 6pm. I had originally planned to run a route down by the U of M along the river I found on, but I didn’t want to lose the time driving down there. Eventually I would like to get out of my comfort zone and run some more interesting places, but for now I am just trying actually do this.

We ran about 3.5, walked .5, ran 3, walked 1, ran 2 walked 1 and the last mile we kind or ran/walked ran walked. We did this all in 2 hours, 33 minutes. The low points were not being able to run a full four miles and the poor showing towards the end. The high point was that I did manage to beat my 11 mile time by 2 minutes.

I should wait until it is over before I mention this, but since we are all so close I can’t keep anything from you folks. Brother of Fat Guy and I are registered for the Gopher to Badger Half Marathon on Saturday. I am actually supposed to do 14 miles that day, but 13.1 will have to do. This is very exciting because it will be my first actual running experience. I am very curious as to how it will be different.