Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mission: Accomplished

Sunday, April 26th:

I was up early. Very early. We were staying in Carmel and I had to catch a shuttle to the Marathon start in Big Sur. The shuttle was leaving at 4:15. That meant I had to be up and at 'em around 3 if I wanted to get something to eat, have a bit of coffee, get ready, and give the coffee time to work it's magic. Too much information? My apologies, but it really is a part of the whole running a marathon thing. We were staying at a nice hotel. We got a ridiculous rate on the room, but man, it sure was loud. The people above sounded like they were running laps in their room all night long. Back and forth, back and forth. And when they flushed the toilet, it sounded like we were in the lavatory of a 747. I had a fitful night of sleep. I kept waking up. The last time I woke up was around 2:40 a.m., and I decided I should just stay up.

On the shuttle ride to the start, I met a very nice runner by the name of John. He was 66, and Big Sur was his 110th marthon. Damn. I enjoyed talking with him about running, the courses he's liked what he recommended etc.

I got to the start, and had about an hour and a half to kill. It was COLD, and clear. I topped off my tank with a bit of coffee and water, and used the port a potty once or twice more before the start.

The first 5 miles of the race were downhill. I had to fight the desire to run fast. I kept my pace between 8:30 and 9:00/mile. Running out of the forest and to the coast, the wind was relentless. It cut right through us. Miles 10 through 12 were all uphill. It was on this uphill that I came across John. At the top of the hill was "Hurricane Point". It was about as windy as you'd expect from a name like that, but at least it wasn't raining or hailing. In fact, besides the wind, the conditions couldn't have been more perfect; mostly overcast, with highs in the mid 50's.

Between miles 13 and 14, I had the longest & steepest hills behind me, so I started to work on my race plan. Up until that point, I had just kept thinking that IF (and that was a huge "if") I was feeling up to it, I would begin a sustained push around mile 21 or 22. I put a few more miles in, and kept feeling strong and loose. Earlier in the race, I had tucked in with a 4:00 pace group for a few miles. I left them behind at the mile 19 water station.

I hadn't realized how well prepared I was until around mile 22 when I finally let myself believe that I would finish it, and now, I just wanted to finish strong.

And finish strong, I did. I had a nice kick the last half mile or so.

Finishing time: 3:56.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


We're in Carmel, California, and I'm sitting in the hotel room. We arrived yesterday, a day early, and I'm glad we did. It's given me an opportunity to see the area, and relax a little. I don't know why I always get keyed up like this before a marathon. It's excitement, sure, but it's nervousness too. It's not like I'm expecting to win the damn thing. Hell, with these hills and the wind coming off the ocean, I'm hoping to come in around 4 hours. It's the culmination of months and months of work, and I'd like to see it come to a happy conclusion. I'm trying to remind myself it's just a long run, with 3,000 of my closest friends.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Roller Coaster

Continuing with my taper yesterday, I ran 3 miles on the treadmill @ 8:27/mi pace.

I'm only going to write this here today because I will want to refer to it this weekend before the marathon:

Yesterday, I felt AWESOME.

I felt strong.

I felt fast.

I felt like I wanted to run faster and further than I was supposed to.

I have worked hard.

I am ready.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Not much going on in my running today, (a rest day) and thank God for that. It's a hundred degrees!!!

I watched the Boston Marathon on the web today. America's hopefuls Kara Goucher and Ryan Hall both came in third in the men's and women's races. It was very exciting to watch Kara try and keep her lead at the 25 mile mark. Unfortunately, she was unable to answer a surge by Salina Kosgei of Kenya and Dire Tune (last year's woman's winner) from Ethiopia. I didn't see the beginning of the race, but apparently Hall went out at breakneck speed, only to be dropped later on. The fact that he was able to hold on and take third really was impressive. American distance running is alive and well.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hot As Ballz

Today was a perfect simulation day for my marathon...

Perfect that is, if I was running Badwater.

Sure, I'm being dramatic. Badwater is one of the craziest ultras around; running across Death Valley up to Mount Whitney, in the heat of the summer. Good times.

I was supposed to run 13 today. I only ended up running about 11. I figured the hot conditions and the steep terrain I ran on today more than compensated for the 2 measly miles I didn't run.

Today, it was hot. Stupid hot. 95 friggin' degrees hot. And it was kind of windy. So I had a choice. I could've run on the roads and up the hills of Griffith Park and back, or I could forgo the hills and run nearer to the beach. Or I could run in Sullivan Canyon, where the first 3 miles are run under a canopy of trees, but it's basically straight uphill for 5 miles. I chose #3. I am happy to report that I did NOT roll an ankle, trip, stumble, fall, or take a header. I was nervous about running single track one week before Big Sur. I had stomach problems around mile 7. I'm sure I was dehydrated, and the long, steep, 5 miles up hill didn't help things either. I stopped in a restroom, washed some cold water on my face, and it really helped me out. My stomach problems got better, and I was able to have a strong finish.

It's still hot out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

5 Miles

Just a quick 'n easy 5 miler today. I didn't wear a watch, but I'm guessing I averaged about a 8:30-9:00/mile.

That's it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Commence Tapering

Yesterday I ran about 3 miles on the treadmill doing the "Endless Mountain" workout, but coach told me I could only do 30 minutes. My taper has begun. I felt pretty good during the workout, and that afternoon, I had a massage. They focused on my legs mostly, they went deep, and let me tell you, I needed it! I usually get like one massage a year. I should really get them more frequently but they can be cost prohibitive, especially in this economy. The masseuse said my legs were in pretty good shape with regard to being super tight. I guess that's good news.

Monday, April 13, 2009

22 Miles


You know, the worst part about the post run ice bath is the first 2 minutes. After that, the legs go numb. In the summer, it's a pretty good way to get your core temperature down while you pamper the gams.

Saturday, I ran 22 miles, and it wasn't horrible. It was the last, biggest, long run 'til the 26th. I hit a bit of the infamous Wall at about mile 18. I was probably dehydrated a bit, and I should've loaded a few more carbs into me in the days leading up to the run. I only ate a muffin with coffee for my breakfast. I've read many sources that say anything you eat the morning of the marathon doesn't really help you in the race. I wasn't 100% satisfied with the run, but I should really just focus on the positive: My sinuses were generally well-behaved, (even considering the wind I encountered) therefore, my stomach was stellar(!!) I also ran it with 7 lbs of Gatorade strapped to my back, and I had about 5,000 feet of altitude gain (and loss). It looked like this:

22 miles
Time: 3:21
Av pace: 9:09/mi
Av heart rate: 160 bpm
Calories burned: 2336
Ascent/Descent: 4834 feet

Easter Sunday, my legs were stiff a bit, but really, they felt pretty good. Today is a rest day, my back is tight, I will stretch, but it's manageable. All in all, I'd say, I'm feeling pretty good about where I'm at.

With this saturday's 13 miler, I will try and get to bed super early, so that I can get up super early, and do a dry run of my morning routine- the eating, getting up and ready in darkness, there's a 4 a.m. shuttle ride to consider and then I'll try and start the run close to 6:45 a.m. wearing the new long sleeve top I bought for the marathon.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Awww, It's So Cute!

Yesterday, I went on a brief, easy, 3 mile run. I felt pretty tight at the outset, but by the end, I felt fine. In the interest of taking it even easier, and avoiding the dust outside, (my allergies had been giving me trouble) I did the run on the treadmill.

Today, a rest day.

Tomorrow, the big one. A 22 mile dress rehearsal for Big Sur. They're predicting rain. My guess is, they'll be wrong again. I've increased my carb intake in preparation. I'd like to run it early in the morning, but I perform tonight and won't be in bed until probably midnight. I'd rather be well rested for tomorrow, and then work on the early morning aspect of the run during next weekend's 13 miler. Because of having to take a shuttle to the start line at the marathon, and the early start, I will most likely be up around 3 in the morning for it. Yikes. Gotta get ready for that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hybrid Run

Yeah, that's right, Coach. How you like that? I'm kickin' such ass that I'm making up my own workouts!

In reality, I missed an easy 45 minute run, and so I added a few extra miles to yesterday's "Slow Death" repeats. I ran to the gym (about 3/4 of a mile) then ran my 10 repeats on the treadmill (and ran them at nearly 6:00/mile pace), then ran to the store to get some steaks for dinner, and ran home.

All in all, I ran about 5 1/2 miles, 2 of which were those deadly repeats. I'm risking the big fat jinx here, but I gotta tell ya-

It felt pretty damn good.

Feel better, Ruth.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Neuroses & Cramps

Yesterday I did 15 miles and, if I say so myself, ran a perfect split. 15 miles in 2:02. 1:01 the first half, 1:01 for the second. I must confess the second half wasn't too easy. I took a different route, running almost to Santa Monica via Wilshire Blvd. before turning around. The hills I ran were not nearly as steep as the hills I've been running in Griffith Park, and probably lead to the quicker pace. It was hot yesterday, with highs in the 80's and there was some wind too. As always, it brought about the fun with my sinuses, feeling like hot pokers were being shoved in my eye sockets.

The neuroses came about a day earlier when I went to see a couple of movies. It seemed like everywhere around me people were coughing, hacking or sneezing. It's at this stage of the game, the last couple of weeks before a marathon, that I want to be like John Travolta, circa 1976 and live in a plastic bubble. I can't get sick...

Last night, in bed, I suffered from leg cramps and soreness. I guess I need more potassium. Bring on the bananas!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Yesterday's run ended up being around 4 miles (including the warmup and cool down). I ran repeats of 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 & 1 mile @ 7:28/mi.

I gotta tell ya, I felt pretty good doing it too.

Today I've got an "optional" run scheduled. Due to being up super late this morning, (3 a.m. Huzzah!) I'll be opting out of this run.