Friday, February 25, 2011

Wait ..... You're Leaving for How Long?!?!

Ummm ..... this could get ugly.

Mrs. Evolving boards a plane tomorrow AM for a 5 day business trip to Florida.  That leaves yours-truly at the mercy of my 2 monkeys, and their little dog.  Basketball, swimming, a birthday party, jazz, piano, school, meals, dr. appt, etc., etc., all left in my spectacularly incompetent hands.  Should look something like this within the first 10 minutes:

Will she return to a well-oiled familial machine, or something from the pages of Lord of the Flies?  It's a coin toss right now.

Thankfully there are no cameras rolling.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Semper (freaking) Fi - Marine Corps Marathon

Enough with the ‘TBD’ in the list of upcoming races.  Time to get serious about running again.

As of 12:03 Eastern today I am officially registered for the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30th.  Oo-rah!  Game face on?  You bet:
The Eye of the ..... Lemur?

This one has been on my to-do list long before I ever got serious about the possibility of running a marathon.  I grew up in a military family (Navy), spent the bulk of my youth living in the suburbs of DC, and have always felt the pull of this race.  The two marathons I’ve run have both been smaller affairs (less than 3,000 runners), and I want the experience of a big ‘event’ race.  I’m only planning to do one marathon this year, and this is the one.

Last marathon I kept my goals to myself until the last minute, but not this time.  I’m putting them out there for the blogging world to see, and counting on my blog friends for virtual accountability and kicks in the ass as I move through my training:

    Marathon 1 (3/21/10):  4:14:07

       Marathon 2 (11/14/10):  3:54:22

         Marathon 3 Goal (10/30/11):  3:34:00

Yep – I want to cut another 20 minutes off my PR.  By my calculation that’s an 8:09 pace (yikes), so I’ve got a lot of work to do.  Gotta stay healthy ….. gotta stay healthy …. gotta stay healthy.

As of this past Sunday I’ve already started ‘training’.  For my last race I used the training plan from, and I was generally happy with the results.  I did get injured in the last 2 weeks of training, but I think I know what lead to that injury.  This time around I’m going back to, but in addition to the 17 week training plan, I’m also doing the 19-week ‘mileage buildup schedule’, for a total of 36 weeks of training, which started 4 days ago.  Here’s the buildup schedule:
Click to Enlarge

I’m planning to follow this pretty much as-is.  I’d like to add a half-marathon around the time this 19-week plan finishes, but that’s July in the South, so the options are VERY limited.  If anyone has any suggestions for a June/July/early August half-marathon reasonably close to Raleigh North Carolina please let me know.

The marathon training schedule looks like this:
Again ... Click to Enlarge (that's what she said)
Last time I followed this exactly as written, including a longest long-run of 23 miles.  I think this was a major contributor to my injury.  I didn’t get hurt on that run, but I think it pushed me to the point where I was primed for an injury, and wasn’t able to effectively recover from that run while still following the training plan.  This time around none of my long runs will exceed 20 miles.  I’ll also be focusing on slowing down during these long runs.  I worked on revising my stride to be more mid-foot during my last training, but I’ve found that I have a hard time slowing down while maintaining this new form.  When I try to slow down, I revert to a heel strike.  I’m trying to solve this riddle during the buildup plan so I can do a better job with this during the race training.  I run my long runs too close to my marathon pace, and it stresses my sadly fragile body too much.

The other thing that contributed to my injury was not sticking with lower-body weight training during race training.  For whatever reason, my right leg get out-of-balance strength-wise when I run regularly.  I knew this from M1, knew I should be lifting legs during M2 training, but I didn’t stick with it, and I paid the price.  This time, in addition to periodic lunges and hip PT exercises, I WILL lift legs at least once a week for the full 36 weeks.  No excuse for not doing it.  I’ll be tracking that on the blog as well, and encourage abundant virtual abuse if I start slacking.

I need to drop some weight that I accumulated while broken-down after the last race, and I’ve started working on that as well.  Carrying even a little extra weight makes my knees and feet unhappy while training.

Feels good to be back on a plan, and running with a purpose, even if the race is a long way in the distance.  This should be fun.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Put this week out of its misery

Seriously, somebody please put a bullet in this week.

Work blows, and personal life blows, and now they've put their wonder-twin powers together ..... form of: a sore throat and headache.

However, it's currently 76 degrees in Raleigh, in the middle of February, and I'm choosing to focus entirely on that while sticking my fingers in my ears and repeatedly saying "La, la, la, la, la, ...."

Assuming that I have not contracted the plague, or monkey pox, or Bieber fever, I shall run on Sunday, and it shall be glorious.  I shant be denied.  Yes ... my week has been so bad that I'm reduced to using words like "shall" and "shant".  Maybe it's mad-cow disease.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Planning for Training for Training for Marathon

The time has come to get back into running mode.
Healing mode has been ok, and mostly successful.  I got back out and ran on Sunday, and the ailments were mostly cooperative.  The weather is starting to warm up, and I’ve hibernated long enough.  I need a goal.  I need a target.  I need my Garmin and iPod and RoadID.  I love the smell of Biofreeze in the morning.

I don’t have any races officially planned yet for 2011, but that should change shortly.  I also haven’t chosen a training plan yet for my Fall marathon, but that’s in the works too.  I’ve got some new gear patiently waiting to be thrown into action.  Right now I’m backwards planning from a most-likely October race to figure out my strategy.  This time around, I’m going to put together a fairly regimented base-building training plan, which will then lead directly into a roughly 18-week marathon training plan.  If I’m doing the math right in my head, that means I probably need to get started before the end of February.

I’m also starting to think about some goals for Marathon 3.  M1 was old-school, bare-bones, Rocky running around in the snowy mountains in Russia training.  M2 was try-new-things, mix in some tempo work, cross-train (far too little), sweat-till-you -bleed training.  Unfortunately I screwed up my knee pretty badly a couple weeks out from M2, but the training still seemed to have worked as I was able to knock twenty minutes off my M1 time.  I know I want to knock more time off for M3, but I REALLY want to minimize my injuries this time around.  Tired of hurting.  Need to strike that delicate balance between pushing and breaking.  Thus far I’m not very good at it.

The weather here is begging me to get out and run this weekend.
If I get my plans pulled together, I’ll be running with purpose.  Good stuff.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Imma go run

I’ve been a good boy.  I haven’t run in 11 days, as planned, and have focused on leg/knee/hip strengthening exercises, low-impact x-training (bike, elliptical), and core strength training.  Also doing my PT stretches every day, and working on my left calf to try and reverse some tenderness that popped up during my last run.

Sunday I’m planning to strap on the shoes again and see how my legs have responded to the running break.

Work has owned me for the last couple weeks, so I’m feeling the need for some running since it is my equilibrium-balancing tool.  Lifting and cross-training are good, but nothing beats a good run for me.

My waistline could use a run as well, as my eating habits have been pathetic for the last month or so.  Calories-in is kicking the crap out of calories-out.  On Super Bowl Sunday I think the food I ate outweighed the Packers’ offensive line.  Damn you Rotelle and Velveeta.
"Get in mah belly"  *

* My wife got me an iPad for Christmas, and I’ve been trying to justify this extravagance by finding a use beyond mindless hours flinging Angry Birds at piles of rocks and sticks.  The best I’ve come up with so far is drawing stick figures …. poorly.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Seven Deadly Evolving Secrets

There are some secrets too unthinkable to be revealed.  Too remarkable to comprehend.  These are not those secrets.

Kittee, from Running Half Crazy, has tagged me with the ‘Stylish Blogger Award’.  I’ve been called many things, but stylish is rarely on the list.  Nonetheless, I would like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the original members of Menudo, and of course Chuck Norris.
According to the laws of the Stylish, I am obliged to share 7 things about myself.  Here they are, in no particular order of stylishness:

  1. I’m not ambidextrous by the strict definition of the word, but I write left handed, shoot a basketball right handed, throw a baseball/football left handed, golf right handed, bowl left handed, throw a Frisbee right-handed.  Sadly, I do none of these things exceptionally well.  I clap equally well with both hands.
  2. I owe a debt of gratitude (or a debt of kick-in-the-pants) to my wife’s youngest sister and her husband for pushing me out of the nest and into the world of running marathons.  I had never really considered running one until they ran one together and encouraged me to give it a try.  Despite my injuries and setbacks I’m grateful for the inspiration.  I’m hoping someday we can get our schedules in synch and run one together.
  3. I’ve never been in a Turkish prison (but I enjoy quoting movies, even indirectly, much to the chagrin of my wife)
  4. I am generally a fairly stoic individual, yet acts of kindness or perseverance through extreme adversity can reduce me to tears.  It doesn’t even have to be something epic or monumental – for example, I tear up watching ‘Extreme Home Makeover’.  I do this while eating nails and drinking motor oil to maintain my ‘manly’ equilibrium.
  5. I’ve been to 46 of the 50 U.S. states.  My father was in the Navy, and after college I worked in management consulting for 15 years travelling almost every week.  I’m a cowboy … on a steel horse I ride.
  6. I am deeply envious of those who can draw/paint well.  I’m a fairly capable artist, if I’m duplicating somebody else’s work, but I’ve never been able to draw something well as my own creation ... yet.
  7. I'm a fairly private and introverted person ... and yet I write a blog.  I don't mind being the center of attention on occasion, especially if it includes embarrassing my kids somehow, but I definitely don't seek it out.  Despite this introversion, I was Daddy Warbucks in my 3rd-grade play of Annie, and Prince Charming in my 6th-grade production of Cinderella.  Even I don't understand me much of the time.

I don't think there are many out there that haven't already gotten this award, or some version of this award, but if there are, consider yourself tagged.  Didn't your mothers teach you it's good to share?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Runner's Numb

We’ve all heard of the ‘Runner’s High’.  We know of it, we seek it, and occasionally we reach it.  I’ve been there a few times, and it’s a beautiful thing.
Describing it is difficult, especially to someone that doesn’t run.  I defer to Pink Floyd for a lyric that captures it well:

“There’s no sensation to compare with this, suspended animation, a state of bliss”

Well said Mr. Floyd, or as we friends like to call him … Pink.

Injuries have become an unfortunate recurring theme in my marathon routine, and they have recalibrated the ‘high’ I seek when running.  It’s actually now something that I think of as the ‘Runner’s Numb’.  Fleeting running moments when nothing hurts, nothing aches, each step isn’t analyzed for issues.  When my body declares a momentary truce and the sailing is smooth.  Over the course of the last year or so this sensation has become increasingly rare.  I’m rehabbing from a variety of leg issues right now, so it would seem this wouldn’t be the ideal ‘Numb Season’.  Sunday didn’t agree.

My run started off with the usual tightness and soreness in my hip, knee, and feet, plus some tenderness in my left calf, which is a new present to me from my lower body.  No sharp pain, so I kept going.  I picked a loop just over 4 miles – technically longer than I should be running right now, but still within reason.  At about the 3 mile mark it all clicked.  The head bone connected to the foot bone, and nothing in between put up any resistance.  There was even a good song on the iPod.  Sweet, glorious numbness.

By the time I finished the assorted parts were angry again, but the memory from mile 3 burrowed into my brain and reminded me how it could feel.  How it should feel.  Much like the one good golf shot that gets you back on the course the next time despite the hundred bad ones you sprayed all over the course.

I’m backing off a little on the running to stay focused on my therapy and recovery, but it’s much easier to do this when you know you could run but make the choice to limit the running.  I will not fall into the trap of running more than I should now and breaking down again.  I’m not looking at a race until November, so I need to be patient.  Yes, I’m trying to convince myself of this as I type.  Sure hope it’s working. 

Sending out some strong mojo to Chris over at BQ or Die for his marathon this weekend.  I’m pulling hard for the BQ, since the alternative would significantly cut down on his blog postings, and would be messy for the race clean-up crew.  You stay classy San Diego.